Stephen Hawking’s parting shot is a fresh challenge to cosmologists

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Lawrence Jackson/AP/Shutterstock (6360330b) Stephen Hawking Professor Stephen Hawking of the University of Cambridge, makes remarks at an event marking the 50th anniversary of NASA,at George Washington University in Washington Hawking NASA, Washington, USA

Lawrence Jackson/AP/Shutterstock

THERE was no one quite like Stephen Hawking. His work on cosmology dealt with extremely arcane mathematics, yet he was, until his death in 2018, the most recognisable scientist in the world. He explored the deepest mysteries of the universe, but he also appeared on The Simpsons.

Hawking’s most famous contribution concerns the nature of black holes. In the 1970s, he found a precise way to describe their boundary, or event horizon, in terms of thermodynamics – the theory describing the interplay between temperature, heat and energy transfer – which led him to predict that black holes can emit radiation. This flew in the …

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