His recent declaration to that effect garnered about 4,340,000 results for a “Hawking no black holes” search minutes ago.
No real surprise. Hawking has been anointed by popular media as “world’s smartest scientist.” He made black holes a household idea, along with “Big Bang” = a term that many people who would drop physics courses as soon as they could will nonetheless recognize.
Something feels funny about all this. For how long did people realize that this was a pretty big can of worms and delay opening it? With, of course, the consequence that much that was considered settled in good faith may need to be reassessed?
Fortunately, in the discussion here, no one has felt the need to huffle that science is “the sort of thing that can change its mind.”
Yes, well, mature people, including scientists, sometimes do change their minds. But there is the risk of science beginning to sound like Fifi Fooferaw holding forth on last year’s fashions. A forgettable experience.
So far, the news amounts mainly to reportage. We’ll see how it plays out in the science commentariat.
– O’Leary for News
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips
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Here’s a Guardian vid put up two months ago, Hawking at the Science Museum on black holes: