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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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  • Oh dear (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chunk08 (1229574) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:29AM (#27647569) Journal
    I do hope he pulls through, he is an amazing man.
    • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Funny)

      by JohaunaRei (316029) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:49AM (#27647943)

      I to hope he pulls through also. This is one that I hope has no funny posts.

    • Re:Oh dear (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fewnorms (630720) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:55AM (#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: (Score:2, Funny)

        by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

        all that while being completely wheelchair bound and having a speech impediment.

        Hey, most of us have American accents, you insensitive clod!

      • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vlm (69642) on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:20PM (#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:Oh dear (Score:4, Informative)

          by Firethorn (177587) on Monday April 20, 2009 @01:29PM (#27649691) Homepage Journal

          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.

          I'm going to butt in here and point out that Hawking's achievements were beginning to be known even as a post-grad, when his illness was [i]first diagnosed[/i]. At this point he's been restricted to a wheelchair for most of his life, but he was more or less normal for his first 20 or so years, physically. He was even on the rowing team IIRC.

          Now, I don't know if his illness increased his focus and productivity in the realms of theoretical physics or not, other than to note that if he'd been whole in body he'd have a far easier time outputting his ideas, researching, etc... Not to mention possibly having an extra 30 or so years of him. His lack of mobility has likely led to certain health issues that will take him from us early.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by anothy (83176)
            in the movie A Brief History of Time the argument is made that his disability forced him to construct new mental models to work through ideas, and that those new models enabled him to see things others hadn't. there's a reasonable case to be made that he's done as much brilliant work as he has because of, not in spite of, his physical impairment.
    • by Gerzel (240421) *

      Indeed. He is a credit to scientific thought.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sootman (158191)
  • Poor Guy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:31AM (#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 @11:34AM (#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.
    • Re:WOW (Score:5, Funny)

      by Hikaru79 (832891) on Monday April 20, 2009 @12:50PM (#27649011) Homepage

      My heart goes out to him and hopefully will get better.

      Maybe if your heart actually went out to him, this whole crisis could be averted in time?

  • by networkz (27842) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:36AM (#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: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

      Call it speculation, but I'm pretty sure that the rules haven't changed in regards to death.

      It's still 1 per person.

      • by daveime (1253762)

        I think the Buddhists might disagree with you there ...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      LOLWUT?

      They're reporting on him as he is now, very ill and in the hospital. TFA was a brief article on BBC discussing what they knew about his present condition, not a link to the Death Clock.
    • by Keyper7 (1160079) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:42AM (#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.

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

      As opposed to in the past, where a mammoth would rip out the village elder's guts, and the rest of the the village would be all, "Let's not jump to conclusions now..."? ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:36AM (#27647693)

    If we can launch him into space, and get him traveling fast enough, he'll seem to live nearly forever from our perspective.

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:39AM (#27647755)

    Fry: Hey! Stephen Hawking! Aren't you that physicist that invented gravity?

    Stephen Hawking: Sure. Why not?

  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:40AM (#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.

    • The Facts (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:54AM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Povno (1460131)
        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.
      • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday April 20, 2009 @12:20PM (#27648475) Homepage

        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.

        Hey, now. Don't say that too loudly, or the Unknown Knowledge Industry Association of America will sue him into silence.

      • by DarthVain (724186)

        Even if you discount his contribution to science, which is considerable he is pretty amazing.

        As someone who has ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's Disease, aka motor neuron disease, run in the family (Gradfather died from it) and has read up on it a lot, it is remarkable that he is even alive, let alone a scientist of some repute.

        By the time most are diagnosed they only live for a handful of years.

        Anyway I hope he recovers from this and continues to lead such a productive life. Best wishes.

  • A Legend (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lifyre (960576) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:43AM (#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.

  • by JaZz0r (612364) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:45AM (#27647861)

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

    Let this be a lesson to all - graduating is hazardous to your health!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by EvanED (569694)

      That's why I plan on never graduating. ;-)

      (/me is a 3rd year grad student)

  • Considering how dire his normal condition is hearing that he is very ill doesn't leave a lot of prospects. I wish him the best. Hopefully the reports are an exaggeration.
  • by Murpster (1274988) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:50AM (#27647965)
    Fuck the creationists! Fu-Fuck the creationists!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:53AM (#27648023)

      Certainly not! Do you want to create *more* of them?!?

    • A choice of lyrics from MC Hawkings' "Entropy":

      Creationists always try to use the second law,
      to disprove evolution, but their theory has a flaw.
      The second law is quite precise about where it applies,
      only in a closed system must the entropy count rise.
      The earth's not a closed system' it's powered by the sun,
      so fuck the damn creationists, Doomsday get my gun!
      That, in a nutshell, is what entropy's about,
      you're now down with a discount.

  • I'm pretty sure that anyone who knows who Hawking is knows of his disease and what it has done to him. Hence we already know he isn't the most photogenic person on the planet. Couldn't you find a slightly better picture of him?
  • by Jhon (241832) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:56AM (#27648073) Homepage Journal

    I had the pleasure of seeing one of his lectures. This was before the breathing tube and voice synth. Honestly couldn't understand a word he was saying. One of his undergrads would translate for him. Went something like this:

    Hawking: "hmm um mumb bllum blbl lun udn ummm mummb lum mum".

    SomeGuy: "And we should see a large burst of gamma radiation."

    I had a less than elegant friend with me who leaned over to me and whispered: "Wouldn't it be funny if the guy in the wheel chair was just some retarded kid and the other guy was a genius who didn't want noterity?"

  • What is amazing is that despite coming up with the theoretical basis behind the big bang and a whole bunch of other stuff he is still yet to win the Nobel Prize. Hopefully this is just Professor Hawking's way of making a VERY big hint to the awards committee.

    Yes I know its about theoretical pieces that must be proven by experimentation, but surely the big bang is worth it on its own.

  • I fear his death would set us back decades. With the LHC going online his loss would potentially leave a a vaccume in the world of physics, astronomy, astrophysics, and mathmatics.

    Black Holes research among other astronomical phenomena (high energy) could gain a wealth of information from the LHC's test results. Without him for those early few years guiding the new generation through the initial results, I fear they may flounder and miss important initial indicators on WHERE to look setting us back decades.

  • I can't help make a comparison between Hawking and Carl Sagan. Sagan was also a great popularizer of science in addition to being an accomplished scientist in his own right. Like Sagan, Hawking has serious health problems (although Hawking's are much more severe than Sagan's). Sagan only lived to 62 and his death was connected to lung problems. I do hope we aren't seeing the same pattern for death as well as life.
  • Isn't he still "a post-graduate"?
    I think the sentence is referring to a period of several decades, not one ambiguously timed academic achievement. I think he did not become post-grad when he was 15 years old, so the error range is only a few years.
  • He'll figure out a way to get his head in Jar and go on forever like those celebrities in Futurama...

  • Fearing the worst (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ian.Waring (591380) on Monday April 20, 2009 @02:21PM (#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.

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