A new museum exhibit hopes to un-lock the mysteries behind the doodles, jokes & coded messages on a black board that legendary physicist Stephen Hawking keft un-touched for more than 35 years.
The blackboard dates back to 1980, when Stephen Hawking joined physicists colleagues at a conference on Super space & Super gravity at University of Cambridge in U.K, according to the guardian.
While trying to come up with a cosmological “theory of everything” – a set of equations combining the rules of general relativity & quantum mechanics – Hawking’s colleagues used black board as a welcome distraction, filling it with a mishmash of semi-finished equations, perplexing puns & inscrutable doodles.
Still preserved more than 40 years later, the baffling black board has just been shown to the public for the first time as the centerpiece of a new exhibition in Hawking’s office, which opened February 10 at the Science Museum in London. The museum will welcome physicists & Hawking friends – who died in 2018 at the age of 76 – from around the world, hoping to decipher some of the hand scrawled doodles.
What does “stupor symmetry” mean, for example? Who is shaggy bearded Martian drawn large in the center of the blackboard? Why is there a floppy nosed squid climbing on a brick wall? What’s hidden inside the tin can labeled “Exxon Super gravity?” Hopefully the world’s great minds of math & physics can rise to the occasion with the answers.
The black board joins dozens of other hawking artifacts on the display, including a copy of physicist 1966 Ph.D thesis on expansion of the universe, wheelchair & a personalized jacket given to him by the creator of “The Simpson” to honor their multiple appearances on show. The exhibition will run until June 12 at Science Museum in London, before hitting road with stops at many other museums in the United Kingdom, according to The Guardian.
Hawking was born in England on January 8, 1942. While studying cosmology at Cambridge University in 1963, he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). At just 21, Hawking was expected to live 2 more years. He continued to lived & worked for more than 5 decades & published new work on black holes, the big bang theory, & general relativity.