Science Museum’s new display celebrates Stephen Hawking’s 70th birthday (FREE LONDON)

The Science Museum opens a new display from 20th January to 9th April 2012 to celebrate Professor Stephen Hawking’s 70th birthday, his life and achievements.

Stephen Hawking: A 70th birthday celebration features objects and papers primarily sourced from Professor Hawking’s own archives including handwritten notes on work with Roger Penrose, his drawing of the Hawking Radiation mechanism, the annotated script for a 1999 guest appearance on The Simpsons, and the blue suit he wore for a zero-gravity flight in 2007. The display also includes a specially recorded message (transcript below) for the Science Museum and a selection of personal photographs from Hawking’s life and career that haven’t been seen before. A rarely-seen 1978 portrait by David Hockney is also featured.

The Science Museum, which Professor Hawking describes as ‘one of my favourite places’, has also commissioned a series of photographic portraits of Professor Hawking, in his office at the University of Cambridge, which will feature in the display.

This first ever display of items from the Hawking archive encourages visitors to reflect on the relationship between Hawking’s scientific achievements, particularly the work that established his reputation in the 1960s and ‘70s, and his immense success in popularising astrophysics. Hawking and his daughter Lucy have been involved in the selection of objects for display.

Alison Boyle, Curator of Astronomy, Science Museum, said: “We have been very privileged to explore Professor Hawking’s archives, discovering early drafts of his hugely influential scientific papers alongside a rich array of popular material. We hope that the selection we have chosen to display will offer a unique insight into the career of the world’s best-known scientist.”

Stephen Hawking: A 70th birthday celebration

Friday 20th January – 9th April 2012

Free entry

Display features two main strands on Professor Hawking’s scientific work and public profile including:-

– Professor Hawking’s drawing of the Hawking Radiation mechanism

– A draft of Hawking’s and Roger Penrose’s 1970’s paper on the singularities of spacetime

– A model of the gravitational pull of a black hole made for Professor Hawking

– The blue suit worn by Professor Hawking for a zero-gravity flight, 2007

– Selection of awards: 2006 Copley Medal, 1989 Prince of Asturias Award, 2010 Cosmos Award

– Professor Hawking’s annotated script for a 1999 guest appearance on The Simpsons

– Selection of international editions of A Brief History of Time

· A rarely-seen 1978 portrait by David Hockney

· The display also features audio, specially recorded by Professor Hawking for the exhibition, and a projection of photographs from his life and career, many previously unseen.

Science Museum’s photograph shows Professor Stephen Hawking in his office at University of Cambridge, where he is Director of Research at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and where he also founded the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology. Credit: Science Museum/ Sarah Lee.

More information:

Transcript of Professor Stephen Hawking’s message

Visitors will be able to hear Stephen Hawking’s message as part of the display. He recorded these words especially for the Science Museum’s celebration of his 70th birthday. His famous voice is provided by a synthesiser, which uses a predictive text system that he controls by moving the muscles in his cheek.

“Hello. My name is Stephen Hawking. I am very pleased to introduce you to the exhibition of my archive at the Science Museum. The Science Museum is one of my favourite places. It does such a great job of introducing young people to the wonder and excitement of scientific discovery. This exhibition is held for my 70th birthday, which is a good time for me to look back on my life in Physics.

It has been a glorious time to be alive and doing research in theoretical physics.

Our picture of the universe has changed a great deal in the last 70 years, and I’m happy if I have made a small contribution. I want to share my inspiration and enthusiasm. There’s nothing like the Eureka moment of discovering something that no one knew before.

The world has changed greatly over the past 70 years. Science and technology have had a profound impact on the way we live our daily lives. They will continue to do so. In another 70 years, I would be 140 years old! I wonder what that world will be like?

There are great challenges facing the human race and I hope that young people of today will use science and technology to solve them in the future.”

Visitor Information:

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD. Open daily 10.00 to 18.00, except 24-26 December.

0870 870 4868

Twitter: @sciencemuseum


Science Museum’s inventor in residence, Mark Champkins, explains his ‘Black Hole Light’: “I rather liked the idea of uniting the technology that led to the discovery of sub-atomic particles, and in turn, to the birth of quantum physics (in the form of a Geissler-inspired neon tube) with a form that is representative of the path light would take spiralling into a black hole. Mixing Cosmology with Quantum Physics, I’ve tried to reconcile them in one artefact. It’s something of a metaphor for his work, especially his identification of Hawking Radiation and I hope it can also serve a practical purpose in his home or office.”

Science Museum

The Science Museum’s collections form an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical change from the past. Aiming to be the best place in the world for people to enjoy science, the Science Museum makes sense of the science that shapes our lives, sparking curiosity, releasing creativity and changing the future by engaging people of all generations and backgrounds in science, engineering, medicine, technology, design and enterprise.

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