Scientists and science enthusiasts are mourning the passing of Stephen Hawking, one of the great minds and spirits of our time. In this introductory, non-technical talk, Bay Area public astronomer Andrew Fraknoi will briefly summarize Hawking’s life, and talk about the importance of his scientific work. No background in science or math will be required, but be prepared to have your mind boggled.
Professor Fraknoi will focus particularly on Hawking’s merging the world of the big and heavy (described by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity) with the world of the small and light (described by quantum mechanics). We’ll describe how this merger led to the idea of mini black holes, “Hawking Radiation,” and the bizarre notion that black holes don’t have to be fully black.
Andrew Fraknoi teaches non-credit astronomy classes through the University of San Francisco Fromm Program and San Francisco State’s OLLI program. He recently retired after teaching astronomy for four decades at universities and colleges around the Bay Area. Fraknoi was named Professor of the Year for the state of California in 2007. He is the lead author of a new, free, open-source introductory astronomy textbook, and has written two children’s books on astronomy. Asteroid 4859 has been named Asteroid Fraknoi to honor his contributions to the public understanding of science.