A small group of Moreton Hall Sixth Formers and staff travelled to The University of Oxford to attend a lecture by Professor Stephen Hawking. Read Georgie's account below:
Over the half term break, Yvette and I, both studying physics at A Level, visited the University of Oxford Mathematical Institute for the best trip two nerds (and I use the word in a completely positive way) could wish for: the chance to hear first hand from a Science legend.
As the second in a list of hosts for the evening explained, you know it’s a special event when you have a chain of people introducing each other. This was the Head of the Oxford Mathematical Institute whose job it was to introduce Professor, Sir Roger Penrose, himself an incredible name in the scientific community but here tonight to introduce the evening’s main speaker, the extraordinary Professor Stephen Hawking.
For anyone who missed the film ‘The Theory of Everything’, Stephen Hawking, author of ‘A Brief History of Time’, is one of the biggest names in Science today or indeed ever, who has fought against the odds when faced with motor neurone disease and has led the way in some of the greatest scientific discoveries of our time concerning the Theoretical and Astrophysics of black holes.
The importance and significance of Professor Hawking’s work was shown recently when his ground-breaking original degree thesis was finally published online and immediately crashed the Cambridge University website from the sheer number of people trying to download it.
It was therefore a huge honour to be able to hear him speak in person on his most famous topic of research: black holes. As Professor Hawking explained, black holes are the epitome of the statement ‘fact is indeed stranger than fiction’: points in space where extraordinarily large masses are condensed into extraordinarily small spaces with such strong gravitational pull that even light cannot escape.
Despite the complexity of the material, Professor Hawking managed to bring both humour and accessibility to this challenging topic, striking the perfect balance between the understandable and the intellectually stimulating. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
- Georgie (U6)