Prof Stephen Hawking,
the world's most celebrated living scientist, focused international
attention on the University with a weeklong visit to UST in June.
his stay, Prof Hawking delivered the Institute for Advanced Study
inaugural lecture on "The Origin of the Universe" to an
impassioned Hong Kong audience.
Over 2,200 lucky ticket holders attended,
including public and VIP guests, UST faculty, staff, students
and alumni. They were joined by thousands more
viewers across Hong Kong, with the eagerly anticipated event
being broadcast live on local television networks.
In his wide-ranging
lecture, Prof Hawking discussed historical developments in the
field of cosmology, from early thinkers such as St Augustine of
Hippo to pioneers of the modern era including Einstein, Lifshitz
Addressing the questions of why we are here and where we
come from, Prof
Hawking reflected on the relationship between space, time, relativity
and quantum theory. He also talked about his own contributions
to cosmology, including the conjecture that the universe has no
boundary in imaginary
whether the universe requires a creator, God, or whether its existence
is decreed by the laws of science, he said: "We are the product
of quantum fluctuations in the early universe — God really
does play dice. In fact, all the evidence points to him being an
inveterate gambler who throws the dice on every possible occasion!"
ovation greeted the end of the lecture, and Prof Hawking then took
time to respond to questions sent him by the audience and public.
During the Q&A, he discussed a range of subjects
including black holes, the effects of gravity on light and his
When asked why he speaks with an American accent, Prof
Hawking explained that his voice derives from an old speech synthesizer
made in 1986 that
he now identifies with. "I was offered one upgraded software package
with a French accent. But if I used that, my wife would divorce
Chu thanked Prof Hawking for enhancing scientific awareness among
the younger generations. "Your story is an inspiration and
demonstrates to us all how the mind and spirit can combine to overcome
difficulties and achieve success," he added.
Despite his achievements,
Prof Hawking conceded that he still has many ambitions to fulfill.
"I want to know what happens inside black holes, how the universe
began and more immediately how the human race can survive the next
100 years," he said.
While answers to these questions
may still elude him, Prof Hawking concluded: "Cosmology is
a very exciting subject – we are getting close to answering
the age old questions, why are we here, where did we come from.
It seems we are on the way to understanding the origin of the universe
though much more work will be needed."