A Visit to Cambridge -Stephen Hawking and Firdaus Kanga

Stephen Hawking is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author. He is best known fore his attempts to explain in clear terms of the universe and some of the most complicated aspects of the cosmos and physics. Hawking was the first scientist to offer a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.

Stephen Hawking was born on 8th January 1942 in Oxford, England. His family had moved to Oxford to escape the threat of V2 rockets over London. As a child he showed prodigious talents, if unorthodox study  methods. On leaving school he got a place at University College, Oxford University where he studied Physics. His Physics tutor at Oxford, Robert Berman, later said that Stephen Hawking was an extraordinary  student. He used few books and made no notes, but could work out theorems and solutions in away other students couldn’t.

“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”

On gaining a B. A Hons in Physics he briefly stayed to study Astronomy but was not interested in observing sun spots so  moved to Trinity College, Cambridge where he was able to pursue his passion for theoretical astronomy and cosmology.

It was in Cambridge that Stephen Hawking first started to develop symptoms of neuro mascular problems- a type of motor neuron disease. This quickly affected his physical ability. His speech became slurred and he became unable to even feed himself. At one stage, the doctors gave him a life span of three years. However, the progress of the disease slowed down and he has managed to overcome  his severe disability to continue his research and active public engagements. At Cambridge, a fellow scientist developed a synthetic speech device which enabled him to speak by using a touch pad. Nevertheless, it can still be a time consuming process for him to communicate. Stephen Hawking has taken a pragmatic view to his disability. “It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven’t done badly. People won’t have time for you  if you are always angry or complaining. ” He said once.

Stephen Hawking’s principle fields of research have been involved in theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity.

Amongst many other achievements, he developed a mathematical model fore Einsteins’s General Theory of Relativity. He has also undertaken a lot of work on the nature of the Universe, The Big Bang and Black Holes.

Despite being one of the best physicists of his generation, he has also been able to translate difficult physics models into a general understanding for the general public. His books-A Brief History of Time and The Universe in A Nutshell have both became bestsellers= with a Brief History of Time being in the best selllers lists for over 230 weeks. In his books, Hawking tries to explain scientific concepts in everyday language and give an overview to the workings behind the cosmos.

Summary of the lesson

The name of the lesson is ‘A visit to Cambridge’ and its writer name is Firdaus Kanga . In this lesson the writer could move only a wheelchair. He accepted his disability as a warrior.  He made a journey all over the world.  And he proved his ability is the greatest among normal people.

He went to Cambridge and met Mr. Stephen Hawking who is totally paralyzed although he wrote a great book. He thought that disable people should not be worried about their condition and always thinking positive.  If those people get attention towards their ability then they can get easily their goal.

This lesson motivates the disable people also the normal people.

Text book solutions

Q.1 (i) Did the prospect of meeting Stephen Hawking make the writer nervous? If so, why?
 Ans. Yes, he felt nervous when he went to meet Stephen Hawking because he was fed up with people asking him to be brave.
(ii)  Did he at the same time feel very excited?  If so, Why?
Ans. Yes, he felt very excited at the same time because Stephen Hawking was also totally paralysed, still he had made great achievement.  This gave him strength to do so still better.
Q.2 Guess the first question put to the scientist by the writer.
Ans. “You have been very brave, haven’t you?” said the narrator.
Q.3 Stephen Hawking said, “I’ve had no choice.”  Does the writer think there was a choice?  What was it?
Ans. Yes, the writer thought that Stephen Hawking had a choice.  He chose to live creatively despite his paralysis.
Q.4 “I could feel his anguish.”  What could be the anguish.
Ans: Stephen’s anguish was that he found it difficult to find the right words on his computer.  Hw felt frustrated and tired.
Q.5 What endeared the scientist to the writer so that he said he was looking at one of the most beautiful men in the world?
Ans  What endeared Hawking to the writer was his frankness.  Without being sentimental or silly, he declared that he was annoyed when somebody came to disturb him in his work.
Q.6 Read aloud the description of ‘the beautiful’ man.  Which is the most beautiful sentence in the description?
Ans  ‘Before you, like a lantern whose walls are worn so thin you glimpse only the light inside, is the incandescence of a man.’
Q.7 (i) If ‘the lantern’ is the man, what would its ‘walls’ be?
Ans. The walls of the lantern are formed by the body.
(ii) What is housed within the thin walls?
Ans.  The eternal soul.

(iii) What general conclusion does the writer draw from this comparision?
Ans. The writer draws the conclusion that each of us is an eternal soul, the body is not such an essential thing.
Q.8  What is scientist’s message for disabled?
Ans.  Stephen Hawking’s message for the disabled people is that they should concentrate on what they are good at.  Olympics for the handicapped or disabled people are a waste of time.
Q.9  Why does the writer refer to the guitar incident? Which idea does it support?
Ans. The writer supports Hawking’s idea that the disabled people must not try to overreach themselves.  The writer once tried to play a big guitar.  He felt defeated.  So he destroyed it one night.
Q.10  The writer expresses his great gratitude to Stephen Hawking.  What is the gratitude for?
Ans. The writer expresses his gratitude to Hawking for giving him strength and confidence to be brave and to live creatively.



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