Recently, at the age of 76,
the famous English theoretical physicist,
Stephen Hawking, passed away.
In his youth,
he fell ill with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS,
also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
He was paralyzed and spent more than 50 years in a wheelchair.
Over time the disease progressed and until recently,
just before his death,
he had finally just one last facial muscle still functioning.
In 1985, due to a severe complication after coming down with a flu,
Stephen Hawking lost the ability to speak.
A sensicon speech synthesizer was attach to his wheelchair,
and with the help of this device,
the esteemed researcher was able to control a computer to communicate with others.
Despite suffering from one of the most serious and debilitating illnesses known to man,
Steven Hawking still managed to become
one of the most outstanding scientists of our time.
He confirmed the theory of the emergence of our universe as a result to the big bang
and was deeply engaged in research of black holes.
This amazing and eminent scientist is also considered
an unsurpassed popularizer science.
In his books, “A Brief History of Time”,
“Black Holes and Baby Universes” and “The Universe in a Nutshell”,
he drew a fascinating picture of our universe,
enveloped in a ghostly smoke of nebula
and colorful fireworks from collisions of galaxies.
He spoke about the boundlessness of space, the proximity of stars
the ideal order of the macrocosm
and the mysterious chaos of elementary particles.
His books are so interesting
that they are read by people from all walks of life,
from physicists to housewives.
Stephen Hawking traveled extensively taught university classes,
participated in movements for peace
and against global warming.
He even climbed to near-earth orbit aboard a special aircraft,
finally enjoying a long cherished desire to get a taste of weaklessness.
Stephen Hawking also surprisingly had a fairly involved personal life.
He was married twice and was the father of three children.
For us, the scientist is an example of iron will
and inexhaustible thirst for knowledge and optimism.
it was he who foretold that terrible apocalypse will befall the earth.
He believes that under favorable scenario,
this disaster would come about around the year 2600.
And in the less rosy scenario in 100 years,
the end of the world could come for a variety of reasons.
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The first of these is overpopulation.
In the past 200 years, the population on Earth has grown extraordinarily rapidly.
If this trend continues, by 2600,
people be able to live on our planet
only by standing shoulder to shoulder.
And for their needs, they would need to consume a huge amount of resources.
This would lead to global warming,
release of toxic gases into the atmosphere
and the submergence of the land due to the melting of glaciers.
Such processes would eventually turn the Earth into a kind of Venus
where the temperature reaches 460℃.
The oceans will begin to boil.
And acid rains would flow from the sky.
In addition, the earth could be finished off from a large scale atom war.
A nuclear power might someday drop some bombs on the opponent.
This would quickly be followed by retaliatory strike.
The explosions would continue until they turn our planet into dust and ruins.
According to Hawking,
cavemen warred each other to obtain food
and to win territory for the continuation of the tribe.
Today, wars are meaningless,
but their potential power is akin to that of the apocalypse.
If people can somehow find a way to live together peacefully,
they could still be attacked by another invisible enemy.
This enemy could be accidentally or intentionally created by scientists.
In the opinion of Hawking,
they often mindlessly play god with the very nature of life itself,
intensively conducting genetic experiments.
Sooner or later in their test tubes,
a modified super virus will be born
and it will be well nigh impossible to stop.
And finally death could literally fall from the heavens,
a huge asteroid could fall to the Earth and destroy the planet.
According to NASA, in the next 200 years,
the Earth will cross paths with about 20 asteroids,
the largest of which is 1200km in diameter.
But perhaps the genius scientist Hawking is mistaken?
Fortunately, Hawking’s statements about the end of world do not correspond to reality.
著名物理学家 宇航员 慕尼黑大学教授
So says the famous physicist, astronaut
and professor at University of Munich, Ulrich Walter.
Climate change over the past 100 years has raised
the global temperatures by about 1℃ on average.
If according to the most pessimistic forecasts,
it will grow by another 1.5℃ over the next 100 years.
The world would simply become warmer.
the temperature in the centre of Munich is 3℃ higher than in the countryside.
And… nothing, no cataclysms occur.
In his book “The Turmoil in the Black Hole”,
Ulrich Walter rejects the idea of a threat from asteroids.
Large celestial bodies crash into the Earth with a frequency of
once in 10 to 100 million years.
So the probability of a strike is negligible.
Also, not as scary as we sometimes imagine are genetically modified viruses.
We’ve learned the cope with pandemics such as SARS
and the recent Avian and swine flus.
And with the help of modern nanotechnology
and reprogramming of human cells to fight diseases,
we will likely soon be able to turn deadly germs into harmless little babies.
But perhaps Ulrich Walter’s forecasts are a little too optimistic.
Many scientists consider global warming to be something that will be fatal to our planet.
And they don’t deny the possibility of an asteroid strike.
The last time a large heavenly body crashed to the earth
some 66 million years ago.
By the way, it completely wiped out the dinosaurs.
So after such a long break,
we can hardly disavow the possibility of one more uninvited guest.
Only in the place of the doomed dinosaurs, this time,
it will most likely be the human race which parishes in the face of the Earth.
But these are not all the woes that threaten humanity.
According to Stephen Hawking, our civilization could
be destroyed by artificial intelligence.
After scientists cobbled together an electronic mind,
it won’t remain a dumb toy in their hands for long.
This perfect device could start to develop and evolve faster and faster.
And we humans limited by our slow evolution
will have to obey the super mind.
In such a situation, artificial intelligence could do quite a lot of harm,
and not at all by trying to be evil.
It’s simply designed to perfectly perform its tasks while disregarding all other matters
as we often do ourselves.
For example, if an area of the Earth needs to be flooded to generate hydroelectric energy,
nobody stops and worries about it until caught in the way.
Humanity, for an artificial intelligence, might become about as important as ants are to us.
So with such a large number of grave threats
is the complete and utter end of humanity inevitable?
Stephen Hawking believes there is a way out, and that would be
migration to other planets.
For colonization, the Moon and Mars are quite suitable,
the latter of which has been decent soil and atmosphere.
In the long run, we can aim for world’s further afield.
Hawking believes that a suitable planet might be in orbit around Alpha Centauri,
the closest star to our solar system.
He even took part in a program to launch in miniature probe
通过这次特殊的航行 去到了——准确的说 是邻近的星系
with the special sail into this nearby, relatively speaking, star system.
True, not everyone agrees with this.
Ulrich Walter is confident that in the next 100 years,
technological development will not reach a point,
such as to allow us to populate the Moon and Mars,
let alone get to the nearest exoplanet.
So it’s a bit too early to pack suitcases for interstellar holidays.
But Mr. Hawking thought differently.
In one of his lectures,
he stated advanced spacecraft
would not be needed to journey to distinct world.
Tunnels to other universes may exist in certain types of large rotating black holes.
True, this would be a one way ticket.
Having passed through such a tunnel, one would never be able to return.
Well, we on the subject.
It should be noted that Hawking’s most outstanding scientific achievement
also concerns black holes.
As you probably know, as a result of a black hole’s super powerful gravity,
all matter and even light itself can not escape its pull once caught.
But Hawking discovered something amazing
that black holes can and will gradually evaporate
due to quantum effects at their boundaries, the event horizon.
In this case, they emit energy in a form of radiation.
Experts believe that Hawking’s astounding achievements
will help scientists long into the future in their understanding of the universe.
However, we must remember
travel through black holes to other universes so far remains
only a supposition of the famed scientist.
Today, it certainly cannot be said
that mankind will be able to use black holes to escape from some apocalypse.
But perhaps this farrowed idea of
emergency relocation to distant worlds is not necessary?
Stephen Hawking didn’t consider the conquest of outer space,
our only salvation from an earthly apocalypse.
In his works and public appearances,
many formulae are to be found regarding how to keep our planet rich,
资源充沛 健康发展 长盛不衰
healthy and blooming for the foreseeable future.
According to his plan, the first thing to do would be to limit birth
This would reduce the consumption of resources
and the consequent release of harmful emissions into the environment.
We should also throw all our efforts into creating energy saving technologies
and developing clean energy sources.
Hawking even suggested using black holes as one such source.
If we create a small black hole, say the size of mountain,
during evaporation it would produce X ray and gamma radiation
with a total capacity of about 10 million megawatts.
This energy is more than enough to power the entire Earth.
In the future, we will most likely learn to create such black holes
primarily thanks to progress in string theory.
True, small black holes could migrate the center of the Earth
and cause a global catastrophe.
To prevent this, Hawking proposed keeping such power plants off planet.
For example, in near earth orbit.
And according to Hawking, we could solve the problem of the potential rebellion of artificial intelligence.
For this, it is simply necessary to not develop such a beast that is driven
only by a thirst for a selfish enrichment.
In the crucible of scientific research,
only an electronic mind responsible to the needs of humanity should be cooked up,
one which can be fully controlled.
To combat the threat of cataclysms, Hawking believed it would be necessary to
create some form of world government.
However, he did not discount the possibility that such a government
could eventually become tyranical.
So it’s a bumpy road, the path to save the Earth.
But if we really want,
we will succeed.
As the possibilities inherent in us,
humanity are almost limitless.
This reality is confirmed in the amazing life of Stephen Hawking.