When someone famous speaks, a lot of people listen; when Stephen Hawking speaks, everyone listens. The brilliant scientist is famous to the public for his record smashing book, A brief history of time’, and for the disease he’s afflicted with. In the science community, however, he’s famous for being the pioneer in black hole physics and for showing that the universe will have a singularity beginning, consistent with Einstein’s laws of general relativity. Lately, he’s been in the news for his outspoken atheistic views on the Universe and whether there needs to be a creator.
Discovery’s newest show and Hawking’s history
The latest in line of such comments is his interview on the new program on Discovery Channel called Curiosity’. It’s a major program, originally produced by the BBC, and it starts off with Hawking answering the question Is There A Creator?’ on August 7th. Using a speech synthesizer like always, Hawking, who’s been paralysed by the Motor Neuron Disease, goes bullish and gives straight answers, stating that there is no need for a Creator for the Universe to exist as it is. The show ‘Curiosity‘ intends to answer life’s greatest questions on fields as diverse as space and mp3 players – life’s most fascinating mysteries, as Discovery puts it.
Hawking faced a lot of criticism from the faithful when his book The Grand Design’, co-authored with physicist Leonard Mlodinow, was published late last year. The book essentially says that science is capable of explaining the structure of the Universe and there need not be a supernatural entity needed to explain anything. (I’d personally recommend the book as a well-written popular science book, readable by anyone and of any faith liberal enough to take in the facts of modern science.) Although not directly against beliefs and faiths, the book does touch upon many metaphysical issues and, when even faint disagreements with religious beliefs are deemed shrill, this was always going to ruffle feathers. Later on, early this year, Hawking said that Heaven was a fairy tale.
The motive to start off the Discovery series with Hawking is clear Hawking gets attention and the question always gets an audience. No, the program is not on atheism or religion, but on science. Hawking passionately says:
I believe the discovery of these laws [laws of physics] is mankind’s greatest achievement.
A short interview: An excerpt
Hawking previously did a short interview with USA Today and here are a few questions and Hawking’s answers:
Interviewer: First, we wonder if you could comment on why you are tackling the existence of God question?
Hawking: I think Science can explain the Universe without the need for God.
Interviewer: What problems you are working on now, and what do you see as the big questions in theoretical physics?
Hawking: I’m working on the question, why is there something rather than nothing, why are the laws of physics what they are.
The series is about science and, going by Discovery’s and BBC’s track record, it should be a wonderful series. Do not miss the show named after man’s greatest treasure - Curiosity.