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Prof Hawking Holds Dialogue with Public
Prof Hawking Speaks to the Media
Images of a Star
Lectures Promote Universal Knowledge

Prof Stephen Hawking, the world's most celebrated living scientist, focused international attention on the University with a weeklong visit to UST in June.

During 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 and Khalatnikov.

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 time.

In considering 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!"

A rousing 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 disability.

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 me," he joked.

President 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."













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