by Graham Pierrepoint
Earlier this year, the world lost one of its most important scientists, authors and theorists of all time – Professor Stephen Hawking, who passed away having helped millions of people get a little closer to understanding how our wide and wonderful universe actually works. His book, ‘A Brief History of Time’, became a cultural landmark – having seen a resurgence in popularity in tribute to the physicist following his passing, there are ongoing celebrations of his incredible life and work that are set to continue well into 2018. One of them, of course, is his official memorial service – hosted by the Stephen Hawking Foundation – and if you wish to attend, there are a few interesting clauses involved!
Hawking was always open to the idea of time travel moving in great leaps forwards, not backwards - however, he tried testing the waters as to whether or not such technology would exist – in 2009, he hosted a ‘time traveller party’, sending invitations out after the event supposedly took place. While no one attended on the date he had laid out (in the past), Hawking remained optimistic, stating that the outcome offered ‘experimental evidence’ as to time travel being impossible. The Foundation is going with a similar tack for his forthcoming memorial – as applicants undertaking an online ballot to apply for event attendance can be born any day up to 31st December 2038. This, of course, means anyone not yet born for 20 years can attend – potentially revealing themselves to be time travellers in the process. It’s an odd clause, but it’s offered in a manner that Professor Hawking would be proud of – “We cannot exclude the possibility of time travel as it has not been disproven to our satisfaction (…) But so far we have had applications from all around the world, and we do mean round – there are no flat-Earthers here,” advised a spokesperson.
Are you a time traveller? Want to share in the celebration of Professor Hawking’s life? The door’s wide open for you – and while some people may think the clause to be something of a gimmick, it is both an interesting experiment and a fitting tribute – and while Hawking himself may have initially debunked the thought of people travelling into the past thanks to a lack of widespread tourists, his line on time travel is one of many areas in which he remained quietly optimistic – and, if his experiments were to be perceived, willing to approach a challenge.
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