Brief Answers to the Big Questions


Hawking brought me, through his latest and last book, his excitements in cosmology. This book reminded me of that the human mind is an incredible thing!

One of the world’s most accomplished scientists, key factor in the theory of the initial state (the singularities) of the universe and the expanding universe. No doubt his intuition and imagination was amazing. And also his endeavor to figure out how things work–

His explanation on quantum nature was very insightful (despite the difficulty of the subject). The book really made me want to study some quantum physics– so I ordered a book on quantum mechanics (hope I finish that book too).

His belief in laws that hold all the time, ultimately links to his answers to the big questions he raised- the existence of god, how it all began, and how do we shape the future.

A few things I found very interesting:

His description on the universe before the Big Bang, with three dimensions of space and one of “imaginary time”, a concept for describing the state of the universe before the Time begins. He suggested this model of the universe with no boundary condition specified in the imaginary time. No boundary conditions at the beginning– (which implies potentially infinite number of histories of the universe in the imaginary time; each of them determines a history in the real time; and we just happen to be in one of them). If true, the universe is really, really big!

Also, his explanation on the relativity– “space and time were no longer absolute, no longer a fixed background to events. Instead, they were dynamical quantities that were shaped by the matter and energy in the universe.” This leads me to think that we, who are matters and energies, can shape the dynamical quantities (the space and time, that is, our history) and can eventually “shape the future”, as we learn how things work.

Throughout the book was the voice of a man who broadened the boundaries of thoughts. What was really inspiring was his positivity towards life, well summarized in the last paragraph of the book: “So remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future.”

I too revel in imagining about some day– when we humans colonize the Moon and Mars (as Hawking suggested). In those days, on Mars, we will gaze at the night sky, pointing out at a pale blue planet called Earth, telling our grandkids, that blue dot over there, that’s where we came from :) (But we are going to miss our home planet, Earth!)