Stephen Hawking’s new theory says that black holes are in fact gray, but the black hole in his own life has existed for many years. Hawking recently wrote a paper stating that black holes simply do not exist. Black holes are believed to have an event horizon, serving as the boundary of the black hole. Anything that moves past the event horizon can never go out, including a light beam. In Hawking’s new paper he explains that rather than holding everything inside forever, the black hole simply scrambles things up and delays the return. Therefore, there is no event horizon, but an apparent horizon which Hawking has named the gray hole.
Although there may not be black holes out there, Hawking has overcome many of the black holes that exist in his own life. His passion for science and the sky came at an early age while living in Oxford, England, with his parents and three siblings. As an eccentric family, the Hawkings would have dinner in silence, each family member intensely drawn into a book, but after dinner, it was time for Hawking to lie down in the backyard and watch the stars in the sky.
While he was recognized as a bright boy, Hawking was not the most exceptional student during his earlier years in school; but being brighter than average, he graduated with honors and went to study for his Ph.D. in Cambridge. Hawking felt excited during his first year in Cambridge, but there was something that took his focus away. Slowly, but surely, there were symptoms of illness and he would occasionally trip and fall or suddenly forget what he wanted to say. His urge to focus on his Ph.D. initially led Hawking to keeping his symptoms a secret, but he was sent to a doctor when his father found out.
After a series of tests, Hawking was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which would eventually shut down the nerves that control his muscles. Doctors said he would live another three years.
Although Hawking’s illness often put him down, he continued to live his life. Still, he was not an exceptional student and his illness did not make things easier for him, but Hawking’s life changed when he fell in love with Jane Wilde. His urge to study for his Ph.D. became stronger and he figured that if he wanted to marry Jane, he would need a job and to get a job, he would need his Ph.D.
While Hawking’s illness kept progressing, he studied as much as he could, and Hawking married Jane in 1965. They lived a happy life and had two children, but while Hawking’s illness seemed to stabilize, there were other things that would cause the family to experience problems.
When Hawking was working on his book A Brief History of Time, his illness progressed rapidly. Until then, Hawking had always been able to surround himself with people who could take care of him, but now he had no choice but to accept professional care. Soon the life of the Hawking family began to break up. With caregivers in the home and no privacy, it became difficult for Jane and the children to live their normal lives. The great fame that Hawking enjoyed after his book was published in 1988 was the last straw for Jane, who claimed it all became too much. Hawking and Jane divorced in 1990.
Hawking did not sit still, and not long after his divorce he announced his engagement to Elaine Mason, his first nurse. The two married in 1995, resulting in a distance between Hawking and his two children, who accused Elaine of closing off their father from them. Although the couple seemed happy to the outer world, Hawking’s nurses suspected Elaine of physically abusing her husband. A police investigation was called off after Hawking denied the allegations, but the couple filed for divorce in 2006. Several sources, including Hawking’s nurses, claimed that Elaine’s jealousy destroyed their marriage.
As a healthy child in school, Hawking often felt bored with life. According to Hawking, his illness has given his life as a physicist a new dimension, with great results and fame, but his illness has also given him the power to overcome the black holes that exist in his own life.
By Diana Herst