Stephen Hawking, the world’s most eminent theoretical physicist and leader of the physics department at Cambridge University, was recently invited to talk at Arizona State University. After his talk, he sat down with Claudia Dreifus for a rare face-to-face interview. During the exchange, Hawking spoke of his determination to overcome the obstacles presented by his paralysis, why he entered the American healthcare debate last year and what might be discovered by the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator.
What’s the Big Idea?
There seem to be few life forces larger than Hawking, who since becoming completely paralyzed by a motor neuron disease, has revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos. Sentence by sentences, which he painstakingly formulates moving only his cheek muscles, the physicist has advanced his own field and acted equally as a dreamer and moral authority for our now-global society. He is a wit, to boot. Speaking in Arizona on the joy of scientific discovery, Hawking remarked: “I wouldn’t compare it to sex, but it lasts longer.”