July 19, 2024
Stephen’s intuition was grounded in 15 years of doing a lot of calculations. It didn’t come to him from heaven. It was rooted in the early stages of his career.

How theoretical physicist Thomas Hertog helped Stephen Hawking produce his final, most radical theory of everything

Thomas Hertog tells us how he collaborated with Stephen Hawking on his final theorem — a Darwinian revolution in physics that explains the origin of time

In 2002, Thomas Hertog, then a theoretical physics graduate student, stepped inside Stephen Hawking’s office at the University of Cambridge and saw his supervisor’s eyes filled with emotion.

Hawking’s news was also a confession. The famed physicist told his student that his book, “A Brief History of Time,” was wrong because it predicted a barren universe unsuitable for life, and he wanted Hertog to help him find a new theory.

Live Science sat down with Hertog, now a professor at KU Leuven in Belgium, to discuss his new book “On the Origin of Time” (Penguin Random House, 2024), his decades-long collaboration with Hawking, and the mind-bending Darwinian view of the universe’s origins that their work ultimately produced.



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