I saw Stephen Hawking last night at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California.
It was my birthday, and I couldn't think of any place I'd rather be -- hanging out with one of my heroes thinking about the birth of the Universe.
His talk was really cool. He postulated upon the question of "when the universe began," and likened it to trying to go "further south than the south pole." He also joked about being imprisoned by the Inquisition for daring to ponder the question -- an act one pope or another likened to questioning God.
The Q and A portion of the lecture was particularly neat. Here are some of the questions and answers that I could remember. (I wrote down some notes right after the show while they were fresh in my mind -- so two of these are not exactly word for word - but damn close - and the other two quoted answers are exact.)
Q: What do you think of President Bush's plan to send a man to the moon?
S.H.: "Stupid. Robots are cheaper to send, and you don't have to bring them back."
Q: What do you think of the United States' position on Stem Cell Research?
S.H.: England and most of the developed world has the view that there are many opportunities in Stem Cell Research. The U.S. will fall behind.
Q: If you had a chance to meet Issac Newton or Marilyn Monroe, which would you pick?
S.H.: Marilyn. I heard Issac was a disagreeable sort.
Q: What's your IQ?
S.H.: "I have no idea." People that care about IQ's are losers.
Updated 11-12 - I almost forgot my favorite question:
Q: You were depicted on the Simpsons. How did you like that?
S.H.: "I think the Simpsons is the best thing on American Television."
He's got a new book out I can't wait to read, A Briefer History of Time.Posted by Lisa at November 11, 2005 11:52 AM