Memories of Stephen Hawking
Prof. Stephen HAWKING had a special relationship with HKUST: he gave the inaugural IAS lecture in June 2006, an event that attracted more than 2,000 people. Therefore, it was only natural for the IAS to hold the event “Memories of Stephen Hawking” to commemorate the life of this visionary scientist after he passed away on March 14, 2018.
Among those who came to pay tribute to Hawking were five HKUST professors, who shared anecdotes and personal encounters with him, highlighting his enthusiasm for science and his adventurous spirit. Hawking experienced a great deal in his life, and from his trip in zero gravity to his strong desire to fly in space, he always lived as though free from physical limitations. Indeed, as Prof. Andrew G. COHEN, HKUST IAS Director and Lam Woo Foundation Professor, recalled, “The only things he can’t do are things he has no interest in doing anyway.”
The impact of Hawking’s work in theoretical physics has been enormous, and is so pervasive that it is difficult to properly account for. His contributions to the advancement of this field of research often led to real innovations. A prime example was his work on black holes: he was able to change society’s view of these still mysterious objects, and he raised many questions that remain unanswered.
A tree was planted during Hawking’s visit to HKUST in 2006, and it stands close to the IAS building, maintaining HKUST’s ties with him.