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Stephen Hawking’s blackboard and the mysteries of his “scribbles”


Stephen Hawking’s blackboard and the mysteries of his “scribbles”

Thanks to a new museum exhibition, the secrets behind the mysterious scribbles, jokes and coded messages, drawn on the Stephen Hawking’s blackboardwhich the famous physicist has kept intact for more than 35 years and which have been on the blackboard for over 40 years now.

The precious blackboard was in fact exhibited to the public for the first time in the exhibition entitled “Stephen Hawking at Work”, at the Exploring Space gallery at the Science Musuem in London in hopes of solving the mysteries of Professor Hawking’s blackboard. The new show on Hawking’s officeinaugurated on 10 February, will indeed welcome Hawking’s physicists and friends from all over the world in the hope that they may be able to decipher some of the hand-drawn scribbles on the chalkboard.

Stephen Hawking’s blackboard and his mysterious drawings

The blackboard dates back to 1980, when Professor Hawking joined other physicists in a conference on superspace and supergravity at the University of Cambridge in the UK. During research and studies to try to come up with one “Theory of everything” cosmological, i.e. a set of equations that combined the rules of general relativity and quantum mechanics, Hawking’s colleagues they used this blackboard as a distractionfilling it with a jumble of incomplete equations puzzling puns and mysterious drawings.

But what do these drawings, these equations mean? Do they have a physical and real foundation or are they just the result of moments of leisure among distinguished physicists? Among the drawings and writings on the blackboard, for example, you can read things like the “Symmetry of amazement”facing between drawings of cans containing the “Supergravity of Exxon”bearded martians and a squid climbing a wall.

Now the curators of the exhibition and, why not, also the scientific community, hope that the great world minds of mathematics and physics can resolve doubts about the drawings, writings and equations on the blackboard by Stephen Hawking. We could therefore finally know if they are real theories, presented in a goliardic way for fun, or pure fantasy to mitigate the stress of research a little.

The exhibition at the Science Museum in London

Together with this precious blackboard, in the exhibition they will be other precious artifacts are also exhibited of the professor. In fact, some are part of the collection of the exhibition personal effects like his wheelchair, a custom jacket given to him by the creators of “The Simpsons” to honor his multiple appearances on the show; And some artifacts related to his work as a copy of his 1966 PhD and his thesis on the expansion of the universe.

The exhibition will be exhibited at the London Science Museum until 12 Junethen stop off at many other UK museums.

Ph. Credit: Science Museum Group; © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum