John Preskill’s thoughts about his colleague and friend, Stephen Hawking appear in Time Magazine.
While his scientific accomplishments alone would suffice to ensure an enduring legacy, Stephen Hawking also became one of the world’s most successful popularizers of science. Stephen firmly believed that the quest for a complete theory of the universe should be accessible to everyone, at least in broad principle, not just to a few specialists.
Stephen was fun to be with. I sensed when we first met that he would enjoy being treated irreverently. So in the middle of a scientific discussion I could interject, “And what makes you so sure of that, Mr. Know-It-All?” After a beat Stephen would respond with a glint in his eye: “Wanna bet?”
With our friend Kip Thorne, we made some of those bets “official,” and we were all taken aback by how much attention they received. Stephen conceded our most famous bet (regarding whether black holes destroy information) in 2004, before an audience in Dublin of 700 scientists and at least 50 reporters from print and electronic media. To pay off, he presented me with Total Baseball: The Ultimate Baseball Encyclopedia.
Read the full Time article here