Big Picture Science – Hawkingravity

by Gary Niederhoff on April 2, 2018

Big Picture Science – Hawkingravity

Stephen Hawking felt gravity’s pull. His quest to understand this feeble force spanned his career, and he was the first to realize that black holes actually disappear – slowly losing the mass of everything they swallow in a dull, evaporative glow called Hawking radiation.

But one of gravity’s deepest puzzles defied even his brilliant mind. How can we connect theories of gravity on the large scale to what happens on the very small? The Theory of Everything remains one of the great challenges to physicists.

Also, the latest on deciphering the weirdness of black holes and why the gravitational wave detector LIGO has added colliding neutron stars to its roster of successes.

Plus, a fellow physicist describes Dr. Hawking’s extraordinary deductive abilities and what it was like to collaborate with him. And, a surprise awaits Molly when she meets a local string theorist to discuss his search for the Theory of Everything.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Leonard Mlodinow / Working with Hawking
Part 2: Janna Levin / Hawking Radiation
Part 3: Camuccio & Rattray / LIGO Discoveries
Part 4: Raphael Bousso / Theory of Everything

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar Richard April 11, 2018 at 10:10 pm

Stephen Hawking not only stuck to theoretical physics, he also ventured into climate science where he ventured the opinion that Earth will become unbearably hot, and hellish like Venus if global warming continues.
Quote ‘Next time you meet a climate change denier, tell them to take a trip to Venus. I will pay the fare’
There are a few points of difference though, between the Earth and Venus that the great Dr Hawking seems to have missed:
1. Earth is 1.5 times the distance from the Sun that Venus is.
2. Earth receives about 1/2 the amount of Irradiance from the Sun per sq m than Venus does. (1366 W/m2 to 2611 W/m2)
3. The atmosphere of Venus is about 95% CO2, whereas the Earth’s atmosphere contains a paltry .04%. Our plants seem to have evolved in an atmosphere far richer in CO2 than today as they benefit from the injection of CO2 in our greenhouses.
4. From our climatic history, ice ages are far more likely than our oceans boiling. Many ice ages vs 0 instances of an Earth too hot for life since life began.
However that is an opinion of a great scientist vs a few paltry facts from a humble nobody.

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