People have always wanted to understand the Universe and answer the big questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here?
We have made great progress in cosmology in recent years and I have been privileged to be able to play a part.
Theoretical advances and observational discoveries have gone hand in hand. We have discovered that the Universe is not eternal and unchanging, as was once thought, but started with a Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. We are now working on the unification of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which governs the large scale structure of the Universe, with Quantum Theory, the theory of the very small. This unification should determine what happened in the Big Bang and how the Universe began.
This is an exciting time in cosmology with new observational results coming in thick and fast, and large-scale terrestrial and satellite experiments planned and under way. I want to make sure this progress continues to be matched on the theoretical side. So I have launched an endowment to support a Centre for Theoretical Cosmology in Cambridge. The Centre will work to develop theories of the Universe which are both mathematically consistent and observationally testable. It will build on a tradition dating back to Isaac Newton over three centuries ago. With luck, it will help to answer some of the ultimate questions about the Universe and our existence.
Professor Stephen W. Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA
Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus