Hawking and the mystery of life

The death of physicist Stephen Hawking in March led me to ponder his studies and warnings as well as pray sincerely for his repose.

Hawking dedicated his whole life to studies, such as the origins of the universe, the nature of space and time, the Big Bang, the mysteries of black holes, a universe without spacetime boundaries and the existence of extraterrestrial life. In 1983 he proposed, “space and time might have no beginning and no end.”

He once said: “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.” He was a man full of curiosity, particularly in the universe.

He was also deeply concerned about the future of humanity. He pointed out various threats to life on the planet, such as global warming, nuclear war and disease. In order not to face the extinction of humanity, we must leave the Earth in the next 200 years and settle other planets, he warned.

The sun is about 5 billion years old. The light and energy from the sun support all life on Earth. This energy also drives our weather and climate. Astrophysicists estimate that the sun still has enough energy to burn another 5 billion years.

It is my prayer that we must be smart and strong enough to keep the Earth beautiful and habitable as long as the sun continues to shine.

And let us dream of creating a second or third Earth somewhere in the universe.

Hawking believed “the universe is governed by the law of science.” He is to be interred at Westminster Abbey near the grave of Sir Isaac Newton in June.

The dean of Westminster Abbey, the Very Rev. Dr. John Hall, said: “We believe it to be vital that science and religion work together to seek to answer the great questions of the mystery of life and of the universe.”

HIROSHI NORO
HADANO, KANAGAWA PREFECTURE

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.