Hawking

Dimensions 235 cm x 175 cm x 35 cm
Materials Cast glass, sandblasted glass, holograms, brass

Stephen Hawking a British Cosmologist recognized for his theoretical resolution concerning the origin of the universe known as the big bang. He had also done extensive work on the circumstances surrounding black holes. For more than 50 years he has been afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) a debilitating neuro-muscular disease. His life was a true miracle in that regard given that the normal life span for someone with ALS is only a few years from the time of diagnosis.

He received worldwide recognition for his scientific studies, and a great deal of effort by the team that surrounds him went into maintaining his ability to continue to work despite his physical problems. A number of years ago he lost his ability to speak and through advanced technology developed by the wizards of Silicon Valley, he acquired a computer-generated voice that is triggered by the muscular movements of his right cheek.

For this sculpture I have chosen to portray Professor Hawking in four different stages of his life from his youth when he had his eureka moment after discovering the work of Roger Penrose on singularity through the development of his ALS. The large central head is made of sandblasted carved flat glass that has a thickness of 25mm and is 1-meter 35cm in height. The three surrounding heads, which are two times life-size have been fabricated in a more complete three-dimensional relief made from kiln formed glass.

Because so much of what we perceive of the universe is mysterious I decided to continue my work with holograms in this piece. I feel that holograms in themselves have the qualities that best evoke a visual representation of the Hawking studies. The three holograms included in the piece began with blown and etched objects made of clear glass. With the creation of the holograms only the areas that have been etched, are visible giving an effect of three-dimensional lines floating in space. The big bang hologram consists of four blown glass cones emerging one from the other with the final cone quitting the picture plane and showing exponentially increasing number of galaxies pushing out into the constantly expanding universe. The singularity hologram also in blown etched glass as well as laminated and etched flat glass, shows how matter may become compressed until it arrives at a point or certain light rays come from a region of infinite curvature and are focused together thus entering a black hole where the gravitational pull is so strong that they may never reappear. The third hologram of converging black holes depicts their approach. Once the holes actually merge, they may never separate. This hologram was produced from overlays of clear sheet glass with space between the layers and the swirls etched into the sheets producing a three-dimensional image that evokes the convergence of the two black holes.