Having a free mind, beyond the imprisoned body. Carrying on your job thanks to an innate genius that makes you look beyond the disease. Studying, researching, and spreading knowledge to build a new generation of scientists able to raise the bar of knowledge as high as possible. Then getting one step away from the highest accolade: the Nobel Prize. Stephen Hawking, the famous British physicist, has a unique life. A slap in the face of those who have a narrow view of life, limited to their routine, without taking into account the immense potential of every human being.
A prestigious scholar, devoted to studying the theory of blacks holes, relativity, and the origin of the universe, in the early 60’s he finds out he is afflicted by a mysterious illness of the motor neuron. A very serious and unknown disease (some claim it is ALS, but his survival 50 years after having been diagnosed seems to rule out this possibility) which causes him to progressively lose motor ability over the following decades. Today Hawking is completely paralyzed; his vital functions are guaranteed by several technological progresses and he is able to communicate only through a voice synthesizer that gives the characteristic robotic, but he never wanted to give up on it. A kind of “trademark” about which the scientist himself has often joked, as his cameos in TV series such as The Simpsons, Family Guy and The Big Bang Theory show. Hawking knows how to laugh at his tragedy, thus giving hope to thousands of people who find themselves in the same situation.
He has received numerous awards throughout his life. There is only one missing among them: the Nobel Prize. But this challenge can be overcome too. An experiment recently conducted in Israel might confirm the theory (he developed 42 years ago together with his colleague Jacob Bekenstein who died in 2015, which was received with skepticism by the scientific community) of the “vaporization of the blacks holes.”
According to the research conducted by the two physicists inside these mysterious celestial bodies born following the implosion of giant stars, which are capable of producing force of gravity that can swallow whatever ends up within the boundaries called the “event horizon”. There would be infinitesimal particles that gradually steal small fractions of energy from the black hole at its edges, and then disappear. Their action causes the galactic monster “slowly evaporate over time, ejecting all the past dust, light, and stars it had swallowed”. This outlook was proven by the tests conducted by the Israeli scholar Jeff Steinhauer who claims to have created in the laboratory the equivalent of a tiny black hole: he cooled helium down to very low temperatures, close to absolute zero, and shook it quickly, until he obtained an insurmountable sound barrier, exactly like the event horizon. At this point, he would have extracted traces of packets of energy from this black hole, which constitute the sound waves called phonons: exactly like Hawking had theorized it.
So far, there is still skepticism with regard to the experiment. According to Salvatore Capozziello, from the University Federico II of Naples, National Institute researcher of Nuclear Physics (INFN) and president of the Italian Society of General Relativity and Gravitational Physics (SIGRAV), for this test to be successful, it should “recreate all the laws of the blacks holes’ thermodynamics” in the laboratory. Also Charles Cosmelli from the Sapienza University of Rome is puzzled. According to him, Steinhauer’s experiment “is similar to tests that have been conducted for about a dozen years now on materials that may have mechanical vibrations.”
If the theory is right, it will probably take many years to demonstrate it scientifically. If this is the case, Hawking and Bekenstein will be the first ones to have seized the chimera of modern science: the unification of the fundamental forces of nature (i.e. the electromagnetic ones, both weak and strong) and gravity. A discovery that would be analogous to the demonstration of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Above all, it would be an extraordinary achievement for a man who has never stopped travelling between the s