I have actually read, 'A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes' by Professor Stephen HAWKING.
The book attempts to explain a range of subjects in cosmology, including the big bang, black holes and light cones, and discusses the possibility of time travel and wormholes and explores the possibility of having a universe without a quantum singularity at the beginning of time to the non-specialist reader.
I'm not showing off, as when I say I've read it, I mean I read every single word that appeared on each page. And although I knew what each individual word meant, well the majority of them, the sentences and paragraphs into which the words were formed were fairly incomprehensible. Yes! To be honest I don't really think I understood it at all. I have just written the phrase "having a universe without a quantum singularity at the beginning of time" but I don't really even know what I mean. I understood that the truths the book alluded to and explained were interesting and important, and I wanted to understand them, but, no, it was science and all a bit beyond me, probably quite a lot beyond me to be perfectly honest.
I remember watching the programme 'Hawking' some years ago when it was originally shown on telly. Probably sometime around 2004, well that was when it was made. Ten years ago! At the time, I knew who Professor HAWKING was, obviously, as I'd read his book, he's the brilliant Mathematician, Physicist, Cosmologist with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Motor Neuron Disease (MND) who knew all about 'Big Bangs' and 'Space' and 'Time' and was in a wheelchair; but I didn't know who Benedict CUMBERBATCH was. I just remember being very impressed at the time with the acting, with the sensitivity towards the role, with the way the determination and dignity with which Professor HAWKING accomplished what he did, completing his PhD, whilst bravely facing the unknown in terms of his health and medical condition was captured.
I have also seen the 2013 film also called 'Hawking', which shows footage of Professor HAWKING as he goes about life at Cambridge University in his former role as the 'Lucasian Professor of Mathematics' (a post he held from 1979 to 2009 - and which was previously held by Isaac NEWTON in 1663) and now as 'Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology'.
In this 2013 film Benedict CUMBERBATCH was interviewed about having played the role of Professor HAWKING in the 2004 film. Although he only spoke for a few moments, and, of course, he was taking about MND, what he said was very perceptive and resonated because he articulated some of what I feel having been diagnosed a few years ago with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). He mentioned 'flights of stairs' and 'even ground' both of which are a particular nightmare for me as I really do have the most terrible balance issues. He expressed perfectly the "feelings of vulnerability" and the "terrifying prospect" of "a body that locks you in". It is lovely that someone actually understood this fear and articulated it. MS is, to a large extent, because it is neurological largely a 'hidden illness' and I don't wish to compare MS to MND which is a frightful, horrific, cruel disease, but I am able to relate, and to have a strangers understanding, especially such a high profile stranger as Benedict CUMBERBATCH is very reassuring.
People often say to me, "You look OK", when I express that I don't feel well. Which is nice, as you don't always want to be told the truth in terms of how terrible you look. And I have good friends who are brutally honest and do tell me. But, I have also had people comment: "Oh! You are really lucky; you've got a disabled parking badge." To which I have to remind them that I was awarded a disabled parking badge because I am 'disabled', not because I am 'pretty'!
Professor HAWKING is something of an inspiration to me. His strength and courage and bravery show a tremendous will and a tremendous thirst for knowledge and for life. Indeed "We are very very small. But we are capable of very very big things."