Happenings 18 March 2018

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Just Thinking…

Stephen Hawking was a fascinating bloke with a personality that was bigger than his diminutive and broken body – the world-famous theoretical physicist lived for years with a slowly advancing motor neurone disease which left him bound in a wheelchair speaking through a voice-generating device. I still remember reading his ‘A Brief History of Time’ and being captured by his ability to put complex scientific concepts into language that plebs like me could understand. A saint, he was not, with a colourful history of relationships, but living with the prospect of imminent death for decades seemed to have shaped in him a fascinating approach to life. He wasn’t afraid of being wrong. Failure to him was part of good scientific methodology … and good living. He would publicly place bets against theories put forward by colleagues, most famously against Peter Higgs who theorised the existence of the Higgs bosun. When he was wrong, he graciously admitted it, and paid his dues (at one time with a subscription to Penthouse magazine!) While a number of people took these bets personally, to Stephen it just seemed to make life more interesting. For many of us, the fear of failure looms large and prevents us from giving things a go. For all his scientific brilliance, perhaps the greatest thing Stephen Hawking teaches me is that we will learn more through our failures than through our successes… and life is about learning, isn’t it? I think, maybe God would nod his head and agree …

In Him,

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