Stephen Hawking , AFP
British physicist Stephen Hawking, who came to India on a 16-day long tour in January 2001, praised mathematical skills of Indians, but debunked astrology alongwith some of Albert Einstein’s theories. He told president K R Narayanan, “Indians are so good at mathematics and physics.”
In the first leg of the tour in Mumbai, Hawking addressed an international physics seminar at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and was felicitated with the first “Sarojini Damodaran Fellowship” The physicist also celebrated his 59th birthday at the Oberoi Towers hotel where he stayed. In New Delhi, Hawking besides meeting President Narayanan delivered Albert Einstein Memorial Lecture. He also visited Jantar Mantar and Qutab Minar. He delivered the in New Delhi on January 15. Giving an overview of how physics historically has been part of man’s quest to predict the future, Hawking said Einstein had been “confused’’ about quantum theory and wrong about the existence of black holes, massive stars with gravity so strong that light does not escape.
He said some scientific theories about the ability to predict the position and velocity of particles in space or time may be no better than astrology. He said the reason most scientists don’t believe in astrology is that it is not consistent with theories which have been tested by experiment. His coments on astrology had coincided with the University Grants Commission (UGC) at the instance of then human resources development minister and BJP stalwart Murli Manohar Joshi approving to start departments of Vedic astrology (Jyotir Vigyan) in Indian universities.