Stephen Hawking’s Life and Work with Mr. Greenstein

NASA StarChild image of Stephen Hawking via http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/StarChild.html

On Friday November 2nd at the Museum of Natural History, as part of the ongoing lecture series, the AAA was proud to host George Greenstein of Amherst College, to speak about ‘Stephen Hawking’s Life and Work’. Mr. Greenstein, a close friend of AAA member Preston Stahley, had much insight to share regarding Mr. Hawking’s work and spoke of the breakthroughs and discoveries made by the extraordinary physicist.

The audience, which came close to filling the large lecture hall, was clearly interested in learning as much as they could about Mr. Hawking’s life, both from a personal and professional perspective, as evidenced by the questions which peppered Mr. Greenstein at the conclusion of his prepared remarks.

Amongst the topics that the audience heard were of the breakthroughs made by Mr. Hawking such as ‘Hawking Radiation’ as well as the incredible obstacles that had to be overcome in order to conduct intensive scientific research while being confined to a wheelchair and facing the scourge of motor-neuron disease.

Personally, I had hoped that Mr. Greenstein had spent more time in the actual company of Mr. Hawking so that he could share more insight into what methods the latter employed that allowed him to be involved in such exacting work while being severely handicapped. Regardless, the information that was provided, and the explanation of some of Mr. Hawking’s research and findings, helped to further describe a man who will be forever linked to scientific discovery as well as provide an example of the perseverance and fortitude of humanity under even the harshest of conditions. It was a lecture that all who attended left the Museum a little more knowledgeable and a little more in awe of a great man who would not let life beat him.

The Amateur Astronomy Association of New York continues its monthly lecture series with our next speaker on Friday December 7 at the Museum of Natural History when Franck Marchis of the SETI Institute will be speaking on ‘Another Pale Blue Dot: The SETI Institute’s Search for Exoplanets’. We hope that you all can join us for our final lecture of the calendar year.

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