This post is to serve as a recommendation to anyone who might not have yet caught the Reith Lectures for 2016 – because they are well worth it. I was really looking forward to these lectures in 2015, although they were postponed because Dr Hawking was unwell. Finally Dr Hawking delivered his two lectures, the first entitled Do black holes have no hair? and the second entitled Black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. They can be found here and I would urge anyone who has not yet listened to these to listed.
Dr Hawking celebrated his 74th birthday earlier in January, a feat every doctor told him has impossible. He has been chair bound for decades, unable to do much for himself for such a long time. Yet through all of this he has remained at the forefront of modern Physics and is widely considered to be one of the greatest minds alive on the planet. I hope for the sake of all of us that Hawking has a little more in him because I believe he has much left to contribute. None the less his recent developments are exciting and change the way in which we perceive the most mysterious place in the galaxy, the black hole.
It is worth noting that there has been some scepticism in the scientific community around Hawkings claims. This is to be expected, this is the forefront of Theoretical Physics and has not been experimentally verified but this is how science works a lot of the time. Hawking has thrown down the gauntlet and given a platform for debate, creativity and understanding. The paper Hawking published (which is essentially what the lectures are explaining to a less scientific audience) can be found here. It is not light reading.