Stephen Hawking hosted an epic new kind of cosmology series, a Planet Earth of the heavens. It took the world's most famous scientific mind and set it free, powered by the limitless possibilities of computer animation. Hawking gave us the ultimate guide to the universe, a ripping yarn based on real science, spanning the whole of space and time. He took us through an examination of the nature of the universe itself, to the chances of alien life, and the real possibility of time travel. He did this in two programs in some parts of Australia.
One of the programs was: ALIENS: It premiered April 25 2011 in Australia. Hawking joined science and the imagination to explore one of the most important mysteries facing humankind — the possibility of alien, intelligent life and the likelihood of future "contact." Hawking took viewers traveling from the moons of Jupiter to a galaxy maybe not so far, far away, he introduced us to possible alien life forms — in stunning computer generated imagery — that face the same universal trials of adaptation and survival as the residents of Earth. The promise of time travel has long been one of the world's favorite scientific "what-ifs?" Hawking explored all the possibilities, warping the very fabric of time and space as he went. From killing your grandfather to riding a black hole, we learned the pitfalls and the prospects for such a technology.
The second program was entitled: THE STORY OF EVERYTHING. It premiered May 2 2011 in Australia. In two mind-blowing hours, Hawking revealed the wonders of the cosmos to a new generation. TV watches could delve into the mind of the world's most famous living scientist and reveal the splendour and majesty of the universe as never seen before. We were able to see how the universe b0egan, how it created stars, black holes and life — and how everything might/will end.
After watching the above programs which were televised in four parts here in Tasmania---the last stop on the way to Antarctica if you take the western Pacific-rim route---I wrote the following:
STEPHEN HAWKING: A RETROSPECTIVE
The International Year of Astronomy was a year-long celebration of that field of science. It took place in 2009 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope by Galileo and the publication in of Johannes Kepler's Astronomia Nova in the 17th century. By 2009 I had been collecting resources for the study of astronomy for four years. I had only come to any degree of what you might call a serious and systematic study of astronomy after my retirement in the years 1999 to 2005 from a working life of FT, PT and casual-volunteer work: 1955 to 2005.
So it was that yesterday evening that I gobbled-up Stephen Hawking’s Into the Universe, which premiered in the UK and the USA just over a year ago, and now on SBSONE TV. It was a cold night and I was keeping warm by my oil-heater in the lounge-room here in George Town Tasmania, Australia's oldest town. I’d had a long day; I had not taken-in my daily sleep and after half an hour of this particular one hour program I was fast asleep. But I read about it the next day and here I am writing about it and about Stephen Hawking.-Ron Price with thanks to SBSONE TV, 24 and 31 May and 7 and 14 June, 8:30-9:30 p.m., “Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking.”
Now in the evening of my life
& on my sleep-inducing meds
I dropped-off to my heart's ease
as Chaucer once wrote, closer so
soft of our eyes and murmurer of
low and tender lullabies, as Keats
once wrote---as that program was
not even ˝ over.
But, still, Stephen, I was able to
google the subject and this often
makes up for the loss of a visual
stimulation/I missed the computer
generated imagery of the universe
& the symphonic orchestral music.
You’ve been going strong since ’62,
Stephen, the year you got your B.A.
and the year I started my travelling
& pioneering for the Canadian Baha’i
community in that town of Dundas
Ontario in that Golden Horseshoe!!
I’ve got to hand it to you, Stephen,
with your motor neuron disease-&
how you keep going especially since
those books you wrote beginning with
A Brief History of Time in ’88 when (1)
the Arc Project was just getting started
in the port city of Haifa Israel.….You (2)
have not been able to even feed yourself
since I began my career in ’74 in a post-
secondary education sector Downunder
in Australia, & you could not talk since
I moved to Western Australia in remote
Pilbara in ’85. How do you do it Stephen,
really, how on this earth do you do it?
(1) Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, Bantam Dell Pub. Co, 1988. It has sold 10 million copies.
(2) In the letter of 30 April 1987 from the Universal House of Justice, while Hawking was putting the last touches to his book on the subject of time, it was announced to the international Baha’i community that “the way was now open for the Bahá'í world to erect the remaining buildings of its Administrative Centre” at this climacteric of human history.
15 June 2011