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Medicine Science

Stephen Hawking Is "Very Ill" In Hospital 413

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the good-luck-man dept.
C S Miller writes "Not much more to add. The BBC is reporting that 'Stephen Hawking is "very ill" in hospital.' He has had a few health scares before, and as a post-graduate he was told he didn't have much longer to live; he's now 67."
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Stephen Hawking Is "Very Ill" In Hospital

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  • Poor Guy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 20, 2009 @12:31PM (#27647597)

    All I can say is that I hope he doesn't have to suffer any more pain than he already has.

  • WOW (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PersianTech (1536911) on Monday April 20, 2009 @12:34PM (#27647635)
    Watching some of Stephen Hawking's speeches is very interesting but takes over 3 times as long to understand what he is saying. He is that intelligent, when he dumbs it down its still hard to understand. My heart goes out to him and hopefully will get better.
  • by networkz (27842) on Monday April 20, 2009 @12:36PM (#27647683) Journal

    I do hate it in this day and age, where people speculate before people die.

    Report the news after it's happened, not before.

    It's like akin to reading about Jade Goody demise.

  • Re:haha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Millennium (2451) on Monday April 20, 2009 @12:39PM (#27647739) Homepage

    who cares.. he's been dead for years anyway.

    I'm not sure he'd agree with you on that.

  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday April 20, 2009 @12:40PM (#27647765)

    ...as a post-graduate he was told he didn't have much longer to live; he's now 67.

    Let's not start gearing up for his death just yet.

    He obviously has a fantastic will to live, or he wouldn't have made it to 67 with his issues in the first place. There is no reason to think he won't pull through this also.

  • by Keyper7 (1160079) on Monday April 20, 2009 @12:42PM (#27647809)

    I understand your point, but please never make an analogy between something involving Stephen Hawking and something involving Jane Goody again.

    It simply sounds wrong.

  • A Legend (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lifyre (960576) on Monday April 20, 2009 @12:43PM (#27647829)

    This man has been an inspiration to many people, myself included. He has inspired hope and shown the true courage and grit that humans can possess. Mr. Hawking has contributed man things to the fields of science and written some truly great books. His legacy will extend far beyond when he shuffles off this mortal coil.

    I wish him the best and hope that the end to his current predicament comes swiftly, no matter the resolution.

  • Re:WOW (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PersianTech (1536911) on Monday April 20, 2009 @12:50PM (#27647967)
    Yeah, I understand that maybe some of this theories were disproved, but stimulating the smartest physicists around the world to prove his theories wrong is somewhat amazing thing. Many people tried to disprove "theories" but that's the wonderful thing about science, the right to prove someones work.
  • The Facts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@@@gmail...com> on Monday April 20, 2009 @12:54PM (#27648051) Journal
    He was given 2-3 years to live ... at age 21 [wikipedia.org] due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    He contracted pneumonia in 1985 and would never speak naturally again as a result of the surgery to save his life.

    When the odds are stacked against you, a "fantastic will to live" can seem pretty insignificant. I'm grateful we've had his presence for this long but these are the facts.

    I'm not afraid to show Stephen Hawking we're shocked and mortified that we might lose him. I hope we don't but I'm not one to go through life with a "everything's going to be just fine" attitude masking my true feelings. I followed Robert Jordan's disease in mortified fear and I'll follow Stephen Hawking's progress in mortified fear. I would like him to know how much the world will miss him before it is too late.

    I am grateful for all that he has done in stealing knowledge from the unknown and delivering it to mankind. I know my own personal state of understanding owes him a great deal.
  • Re:Oh dear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fewnorms (630720) on Monday April 20, 2009 @12:55PM (#27648059)
    Stephen Hawking is one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. The guy has achieved more than almost anyone on the planet, and all that while being completely wheelchair bound and having a speech impediment. Most fully healthy and able-bodied people can't even remotely come close to his intellect and insights.
    It'll be a shame if this turns out to be his last hospital visit, but if it is, he knows his name will be remembered for a long, long time to come.
    Good luck, mr. Hawking. I do hope you pull through once again.
  • Re:The Facts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Povno (1460131) on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:10PM (#27648317)
    I second those thoughts for both Robert Jordan and Stephen Hawking. R.J. was a brilliant craftsman of the English language; and I think he knew he would be missed; given that he wrote until his body could no longer function. As for Hawking. He is the greatest mind of our time. He will truly be missed; but he will always be with us. Every innovation for the progression of mankind will be founded on the knowledge that he gave us. We will travel to the stars on the backs of his ideas.
  • Re:Oh dear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neokushan (932374) on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:17PM (#27648427)

    Lets see, who would I rather listen to - a self-righteous imbecile who apparently feels the need to post anonymously, despite being so sure of themselves, or a man who was bound to a wheelchair most of his life, can't speak without the help of a computer and despite being told he only had a couple of years to live, managed to do more in a few years than 99.99% of other human beings on the planet have ever accomplished in their entire lives?
    A man that, when faced with quite possibly one of the worst things that could ever happen to single human being, didn't give up. I respect this man more than any other human being that has ever lived. Even without his genius, he is a role model for us all, he is living proof that no matter how bad things may seem, your life need never be over.

    I know I'm not supposed to feed the trolls, but this is something I feel so strongly about, I had to say something. Stephen Hawking is a great man, easily one of the greatest people alive today.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WillKemp (1338605) on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:18PM (#27648443) Homepage

    God is not going to ask Stephen Hawking what his GPA was, or how many department chairs he has held, or how many papers he has published.

    Too right, it's not. It ain't going to ask him anything. Sorry to have to tell you this, but your invisible friend is just a figment of your imagination!

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gerzel (240421) * <brollyferret AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:27PM (#27648631) Journal

    Indeed. It does not matter how the man lived his life.

    How many people he helped.
    How far he helped advanced human society.
    How many he inspired.
    How selfless he was or was not.

    What matters is if he asked forgiveness of the correct God in the right way. All that matters is the paperwork!

    If the above were true then the rest would be burning on the side of Right.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Headcase88 (828620) on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:47PM (#27648961) Journal
    Even most believers in God would agree. Why ask anything when you're omnipotent? (Except to pour salt on the wound, but that's just mean).
  • Re:Oh dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:49PM (#27648981) Journal
    lol if you believe that you have no concept of kindness, justice, or love. (if God is truly like that then I will go to hell before serving him, where at least I will maintain a shred of dignity). This is where so many christians get off....what kind of bizarre test is it where you just have to accept someone, who you may or may not have even heard of? It's not even accurate according to the bible, the only reason Christ wants you to accept him is so he can teach you to be happy and good. He doesn't actually ever say "accept me" he says "follow me." Accepting him won't do much good if you don't follow him; following him will get you everywhere, even if you don't get his name exactly right.

    And agreed with the other poster: stand up for your opinions, none of this anonymous garbage.
  • Re:Oh dear (Score:1, Insightful)

    by bendodge (998616) <bendodge@[ ]prog ... m ['bsg' in gap]> on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:53PM (#27649053) Homepage Journal

    I missed the self-righteousness in the GP's post. You can't even call it malicious. You're free to disagree with what he says, but don't use ad hominem.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymusing (1450747) on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:56PM (#27649073)

    Ironically, if Hawking helped people, advanced humanity, inspired others to great things, and was deeply selfless... he may actually be far closer to God than most Christians.

  • Re:Note to the BBC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvilToiletPaper (1226390) on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:57PM (#27649083)
    This is Stephen Hawking and BBC, not Sarah Palin and Fox news.

    Who gives a damn what he looks like. What's a 'slightly' better picture gonna do? Everyone who knows him reveres him for his mind not his body and face.
  • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by femtobyte (710429) on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:59PM (#27649121)

    Perhaps one can look at this in a more positive sense?

    Though I'm no scientist like Newton or Hawking,
    or a great advancer of society like Gandhi or M.L. King,
    indeed, I'm a miserable failure when compared against the highest standards of humanity, and infinitely more so when judged against the perfect standards of God,

    the Good News is that even I can receive all the greatest benefits of eternal life through grace, rather than the consignment to nothingness that I deserve by my own efforts.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Monday April 20, 2009 @02:18PM (#27649479) Homepage

    You're right. The FSM isn't going to ask Hawking anything! He'll just touch Hawking with His Noodly Appendage!

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Monday April 20, 2009 @02:20PM (#27649515)

    His most fawning worshipful descriptions such as:

    Stephen Hawking is one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. The guy has achieved more than almost anyone on the planet

    Primarily seem to be a direct result, and inseparable from :

    being completely wheelchair bound and having a speech impediment

    It is disrespectful toward him, for people whom don't know anything about physics, to brown nose all over the guy, just because he's handicapped. Note, I'm not saying he's a loser, its not a binary this or that response. It is more respectful of his considerable intellectual achievements to describe him as definitely well above average in his profession, rather than a polite version of condescendingly fawning over every little little achievement of a sick child.

    For example, in my opinion Asimov beats him in popular science writing, Feynman beats him in actual physics and also general writing. Not coming in first or second place doesn't make him a moron, it just makes him not first or second place. Just not the greatest mind of the century, just not the greatest achievement on the planet. Still cool mind you, just not the greatest.

    He is fairly comparable to Edward Belbruno, the genius inventor of low energy orbital transfers, in that both broke new ground in a very specialized area of study where they got very surprising, paradigm changing results, and wrote reasonably decent books about it. Note, you've never heard of Belbruno because he physically normal, as far as I know.

    It's more respectful to declare him a very significant figure in early black hole physics and a decent writer and stop at that point, than to focus on his handicap while worshiping his achievements in a pandering manner.

  • Re:WOW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chabo (880571) on Monday April 20, 2009 @02:33PM (#27649749) Homepage Journal

    Back in the days of Aristotle, we knew that gravity was a constant downward force.

    Newton's calculations didn't show that to be wrong, it merely proved that it's a good approximation if you're on the Earth's surface. If you're in space, you need to use Newton's work.

    Einstein didn't disprove Newton, he merely showed that his calculations are a good approximation if you're traveling at less than 10% the speed of light. Higher than that, and you need to use Einstein's equations.

    Hawking showed that Einstein's equations only worked in a limited scope, just like Einstein did to Newton. In the same way, Hawking's early work has been supplanted by more recent studies, but it doesn't mean the man is dumb.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Twinbee (767046) on Monday April 20, 2009 @02:34PM (#27649767) Homepage

    I used to be a 'Christian' too until I realized how cruel and plain unfair hell would be for even the worst person that ever existed.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Moof (859402) on Monday April 20, 2009 @02:36PM (#27649795)
    Implying that Stephen Hawking is going to Hell is not malicious?
    Did I miss the memo where we changed the definition of 'malicious?'
  • Re:God and Stephen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WED Fan (911325) <[akahige] [at] [trashmail.net]> on Monday April 20, 2009 @03:19PM (#27650579) Homepage Journal
    Since some theories hold that when you die you become one with the Universe, I see god getting a whole lot smarter when Stephen finally joins him.
  • Fearing the worst (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ian.Waring (591380) on Monday April 20, 2009 @03:21PM (#27650611) Homepage
    My mother died of Motor Neurone Disease at age 42. In the end, all the hospital would do was to "run tests" on her. Those appear to be the same words being used on the news bulletins in the UK atm.

    I wouldn't wish this condition on my worst enemy.

    Ian W.
  • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Temujin_12 (832986) on Monday April 20, 2009 @04:04PM (#27651407)

    I hope he pulls through too. Because if he dies he will do so without being having accepted his gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. God is not going to ask Stephen Hawking what his GPA was, or how many department chairs he has held, or how many papers he has published. No, there is only one question that Mr. Hawking will be asked... Did you believe upon my Son for the forgiveness of your sins?

    I'll chime in on this, because as a Christian it kills me to see this pre-school level understanding of Christianity repeated.

    To make it simple here's the basic axioms of Christianity:
    1. God is real and is perfect
    2. Anyone who wants to return to Him must be perfect
    3. Nobody is perfect (enter the paradox)
    4. Christ willingly takes upon Himself the imperfections (sins) of the world.
    5. Then as the creditor, He, and He alone, has the authority to redefine the terms of returning to God

    The problem arises when Christians think they themselves are able to define the terms of returning to God, which when you think of it could be considered blasphemous at the highest level because one must arrogate themselves above Christ to think that they have the authority to do so.

    This is done often by misinformed Christians when referring to atheists, non-believers, other Christian sects, and even people with whom they don't agree with within their own faith--and generally is indicative of a very immature understanding of the Christian faith. I've encountered this myself as I've heard people tell me whether I'm a Christian based on definitions varying from "anyone who follows Christ" to "anyone who goes to my Bible study group on Thursdays." It's a version of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.

    Continuing from #5 above:

    6. A significant portion of God's children never heard of Christ or otherwise lacked the opportunity to accept Him by no fault of their own, and thus could not be condemned by a perfect God for reasons beyond their control (note that "opportunity" is defined loosely here since it is different for everyone)

    Christians who stopped at #5 above and simply proceeded to try to define the terms of salvation on their own won't even get to this step since they're too busy trying to pretend they're qualified to judge those around them (which, by the way, is explicitly forbidden in Christianity).

    There are several different ways different Christian sects try to solve the paradox contained in #6. Rather than dive too much deeper I'll just say that Christ Himself gave a clue to this in His parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew (go look it up). Summarizing, it basically teaches that those who concerned themselves with helping the homeless, poor, sick, widowed and otherwise less fortunate are those who He will allow back into God's presence regardless of any amount of lip service given.

    So if, God forbid, Dr. Hawking dies now, will he be saved? I don't know, and I can firmly say that neither does anyone else on this planet. So, I'd say the best thing we can do is appreciate all the good he did and hope/pray we can enjoy his presence longer. And if not, take all of the good Dr. Hawking brought to the scientific community and mankind in general.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by inasity_rules (1110095) on Monday April 20, 2009 @04:06PM (#27651493) Journal

    Why are you blaming God for what people do in his name? I've seen people do some pretty messed up stuff in the name of money. Does that make all money evil? Or maybe we should hold people responsible for their actions, not God, whether or not you believe in him.

    Religion gives people power just like politics. Are you really so surprised that people at times abuse power? Get some perspective please before you start spewing hate like that. Oh, wait. This is slashdot. Never-mind. Carry On.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by atraintocry (1183485) on Monday April 20, 2009 @06:03PM (#27653329)

    Sort of sounds like Plato's forms. Ideas and pure concepts are the most real things, physical instances are just crude copies.

    Funnily enough, Plato's evidence for the forms is very similar to Anselm's attempt to prove God's existence. Perhaps because Anselm's version of God (at least for the purposes of his argument) basically resembled the mother of all Forms.

    I doubt Plato considered the forms to be his friends though, being a grown man and all.

  • Re:Oh dear (Score:3, Insightful)

    by syousef (465911) on Monday April 20, 2009 @10:19PM (#27655487) Journal

    Though I'm no scientist like Newton or Hawking,
    or a great advancer of society like Gandhi or M.L. King,
    indeed, I'm a miserable failure when compared against the highest standards of humanity, and infinitely more so when judged against the perfect standards of God,

    the Good News is that even I can receive all the greatest benefits of eternal life through grace, rather than the consignment to nothingness that I deserve by my own efforts.

    Thank you for demonstrating one of the great dangers of religion. It allows people to take comfort in their own complacency. Why should I strive towards any goal or care if I achieve any I set if I can believe in a wonderful afterlife where there is no pain and everything is fluffy clouds and fairy floss?

It is impossible to travel faster than light, and certainly not desirable, as one's hat keeps blowing off. -- Woody Allen

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