Fredonia Shakespeare Club discusses Stephen Hawking

The Fredonia Shakes-peare Club met recently for its 13th regular meeting of the 2013-2014 year, hosted by Club Secretary, Dr. Susan Besemer, at her home. Club President, Mrs. Robert Woodbury presided at the meeting.

In accordance with the theme for the year “Creativity & the Spark of Genius,” Woodbury presented her paper on Stephen Hawking, which she summarized as follows:

While still in his forties Stephen Hawking was called the greatest scientist of the late 20th century, Einstein’s heir and received the Albert Einstein Award. This despite his being diagnosed with ALS at age 21 in 1963 and given 4-5 years to live.

In 1988 he weighed 90 pounds, was almost completely paralyzed, speechless and unable to lift his head. In 2013 he published an autobiography at age 71. He uses slight movements of his hand and eyes to operate a wheel chair and computer program that allows him to speak by tiny movements that pick spoken words.

His research has furthered human understanding of black holes, singularities and the Big Bang. His belief that the universe had a definite beginning with a Big Bang about 15 billion years ago so pleased the Catholic Church it awarded him their Pontifical Academy medal.

He has said “We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor plant of a very average star. But we are understanding the Universe. That makes us something very special”.

After the presentation, Besemer called the group to Tea. She was assisted at the Tea Table by Ms. Rosie Sanden.

At the next meeting of the Club, to be hosted by Club Treasurer, Ms. Priscilla Bernatz, at The Edwards Waterhouse Inn in Fredonia, Mrs. Brian Woods will present a paper entitled “Why I Write” by George Orwell.