Theoretical physicist and the person whose name usurped that of Albert Einstein as a synonym for “genius,” the late Professor Stephen Hawking spent his life trying to explain the huge questions of the universe. Where it began, and where it will eventually end. It stands to reason that, in what seems to be one of his final interview before his death at age 76, the scientist broke down his theory on what happened before The Big Bang.
In an interview with physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson for the latter’s show StarTalk, time and space are the broad topics of discussion.
Watch it here:
Hawking explained that before The Big Bang there was nothing — at least, nothing that we could understand as existing. “The boundary condition of the universe...is that it has no boundary,” he said in the interview. If you’re an expert on four-dimensional Euclidean space-time, you probably got a lot more out of the physicist’s explanation than the layperson.
However, Hawking does a decent job of unpacking his theory that The Big Bang was a singularity that irreparably changed the laws of physics, so that anything before it can’t really be considered as existing (in terms we usually think of existence, that is).
There seems no better topic for the scientist to go out on that the one in which he is an expert and one in which “imaginary time” is used to make a point. Hawking inspired us, encouraged us, and taught us up until the end.