Tag Archives: Stephen Hawking

Learning the Lesson of Stephen Hawking… Never Give Up

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up- Stephen Hawking.

Stephen Hawking; photo from bbc.com
Stephen Hawking; photo from bbc.com

Famed physicist Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76 in his home in Cambridge, England, early in the morning of March 14. In a statement from his family, they stated that Hawking died peacefully.

For over 50 years, Hawking had battled a form of ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and he was orignally given only two years to live when first diagnosed. Instead of giving up, Hawking took this as another part of life.

Stephen Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England to Frank and Isobel Hawking. Stephen had two sisters, Philippa and Mary and an adopted brother, Edward. The family was known for their intelligence and eccentricity.

Hawking was known to be “lazy” and “bored” when it came to his work, especially when he felt the work was easy. This showed itself while at college in Oxford, and later on, Hawking would gain popularity by joining the University College Boat Club and serving as coxswain.

Everything was going well until Hawking started to experience increasing clumsiness during his final year at Oxford. It got to a point where his family noticed the changes. A medical investigation had begun, and the worst possible outcome had been diagnosed: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a neurological degenerative disease that eventually left Dr. Hawking unable to move on his own.

Hawking was given two years to live. Though tempted to give up, he soon noticed how slow the disease was taking affect on him. H decided that rather than falling into despair and letting the disease control his life, h would instead delve into something that he loved–science.

With all of the work that Hawking did for the world, it’s even harder to began to think about how much pain he went through on a daily basis. That alone should be enough to make us appreciate all of the work he did in physics, which will be discussed, tested, and lead humanity into the future for years to come.

God Speed, Mr. Hawking… see you on the other side.

 

 

Cover Photo from The Telegraph

Aggression and intolerance are the root of all evils

I’m not the most tolerant person. I get frustrated with people and their habits easily. That being said, this may be the most hypocritical article I’ve ever written.

Being tolerant of others is the only way we’ll ever have peace in ourselves and around the world. As frustrated as I get with pro-lifers and others who have radically different views from my own, we all have to find some sort of patience and acceptance of each other. Part of growing up is realizing that not everyone thinks the same way you do, and learning to be okay with that.

Walking through a war zone. Graphic from the Trust Collective
Walking through a war zone. Graphic from the Trust Collective

Aside from people with different views, there are going to be people with annoying habits that make you want to gouge your eyes out. As much as I detest hearing other people chewing, learning to approach them kindly and patiently will solve the issue much more gently than reacting with anger and intolerance. Finding coping mechanisms that help you deal with the things that get under your skin will help you rest easy in the face of things that generally tick you off.

One habit I’ve taken up in order to avoid swearing at a complete stranger for chewing loudly is simply using headphones or evacuating the immediate area. When I see a dumb bumper sticker that goes against my own beliefs, I remember what it felt like to have a complete stranger approach me and attack my beliefs because of a bumper sticker . I also observe the person because nine times out of ten, it’s an older person who grew up in a very different time and will likely not be around much longer. It’s morbid, I know, but it helps me rest easy with my angry liberal-hippie heart.

Stephen Hawking recently made a bold and telling statement while giving a tour of London’s Science Museum to Guest of Honor contest winner Adaeze Uyanwah. Hawking stated that aggression is the biggest shortcoming of mankind, and that aggression should be replaced with empathy. Of all of the research and observations Hawking has made on climate change and the impending doom it could bring to Earth, he recognizes the simplest of truths: we humans are destroying our own existence. No species has managed to destroy as many other species as humans have, and most of it has been for the sake of controlling the environments around us.

In the fight to control as many resources within the imaginary borders we’ve created, we’ve left thousands upon thousands of species devastated in our wake. Nuclear bombs, deforestation and drilling for the liquid gold we call oil, all in order to be the country with the most resources, we’ve destroyed the pale blue dot we live upon. This can easily be blamed on our aggression. We aggressively pursue as many resources as we can, taking drastic measures which create consequences that future generations will have to face–all for the sake of our economy.

It may seem that someone with little stance in society may not have the power to disintegrate the hate and aggression all over the world, but by simply injecting empathy in your daily life, you may cause a ripple effect. Showing kindness in the face of adversity is one of the greatest tools we have in the fight against the unrest in the world. It’s easy to get angry at things you deem unfair, but instead of getting angry, it’s time to get smart.

 

 

Science is just as fulfilling as religion

Growing up, I was never forced to be religious, but I chose to be for a long time. It wasn’t until I started to really get into science that I realized that science was filling a void in my life that I never knew existed.

I often hear people say that those who don’t have Christ in their lives have a hole in their heart; that’s simply not the case. Science, to me, explores the miracle of life. After the countless documentaries exploring theories of how the Earth came to be, and the scientific proof that backs it up, I can’t help but be content with the idea that we, as humans, are miracles of nature, not miracles of God.

For instance, when you think about the sheer enormity of the universe, it’s amazing! It’s so huge, and we’re so tiny and insignificant. We’re just riding around on a dust particle. We’re not even dust particles, we’re on one. When we think of things that are big, we think of houses, cars, mountains, bridges- but when you really want to be amazed by the size of something, just look at earth and imagine that it’s a dust particle in the sunlight. That’s us.

Science and it's natural beauty. Graphic from Universe Today
The Universe has natural beauty. Graphic from Universe Today

I remember being amazed in elementary school at how teeny tiny earth is compared to the sun. Now, I’m amazed at the fact that our galaxy isn’t even significant. When I think of Earth on a time scale, it helps me to truly appreciate the life I have. We moan about how Mondays are long and how tired we are of being at school or work. When you imagine how short our lives are in the grand scheme of things, you realize that we have practically no time here.

That little moment that we are here is why I’ve turned away from religion. I realized that in the time I’m here, I was spending so much of it worrying about a god that I thought was going to take his thumb and just crush me if I did one thing that displeased him. But I’m here for a brief moment, and I want to learn as much as I can without interruption. I want to try my best to explore what we know about the universe and the last thing I want is someone telling me I’m displeasing a god that we have no proof of.

I can truly appreciate those who turn to god for answers and comfort, because I was once that person. But one day I decided that the voice in my head that was telling me right from wrong was my conscience. I find that way more beautiful than living a life for god, and doing good things because god wants me to. I think the fact that I have so much faith in myself and my own decision-making abilities should be enough.

I’m so incredibly content with myself now, whereas before I was worried that I wasn’t doing things the “right” way. I know now that I can make mistakes and learn from them and I don’t feel the need to beg for forgiveness. I’m no longer living my life afraid that the “Almighty Lord” is going to come down and smite me. Some may find comfort in a forgiving god, and that’s okay. But for me, observing and being curious rather than spending my days with closed ears is how I would like to live my life.