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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Mexico fans react after Mexico F Julián Quiñones 73rd-minute goal during the MexTour match between Mexico and Brazil at Kyle Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 11, 2024

As soon as the Mexico-Brazil soccer match at Kyle Field was announced, Jacob Svetz and Caitlin Falke saw an opportunity.  The match was scheduled...

The Fighting Texas Aggie Band performs at halftime during Texas A&Ms football game against ULM at Kyle Field on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023.
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
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Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Universe still an unknown, Hawking says

There is no single theory to explain the universe, noted physicist Stephen Hawking said Saturday, explaining that despite his long search, he has found that physics cannot link the primary elements of the universe into one coherent explanation.
Hawking, ranked among the likes of Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton for his research on black holes and his contributions to the big bang theory, spoke as to a crowd of more than 3,000 Saturday afternoon at Texas A&M’s Rudder Auditorium as part of the George P. and Cynthiana W. Mitchell Institute. The speech drew listeners from across the United States.
Hawking compared the work of mathematician Kurt Gödel (1906-1978), who theorized that math is limited by underlying contradictions, to M-Theory, a group of physics theories designed to explain the universe with all factors, such as gravity, accounted for.
Hawking’s example of the contradictions in math theorized by Gödel was the statement, “This statement is false.” Hawking said that the statement can either be true but therefore be false or false and therefore true.
“Math is either inconsistent or incomplete. The smart money is that it is incomplete,” Hawking said through his computer, which he uses to speak because of a severe case of Lou Gerhig’s Disease.
Just as mathematical contradictions limit its use, physics has problems that prevent it from being used to develop an ultimate theory to explain the universe, Hawking said.
“The theories (in physics) we have so far are both inconsistent and incomplete,” he said.
Theories physicists are currently using – such as M-theory, super-string theory and the standard model – are sufficient for making physics calculations, Hawking said, but physicists have been searching for a rule that would overcome the problems of current theories.
“I have belonged to that camp, but I have changed my mind. I am now glad that our search for understanding will never come to an end because we will always have the challenge of new discoveries,” Hawking said. “Because without it, we would stagnate.”
The scientist also addressed the role a supreme being would play in the physicist’s model of the universe. A god may have designed the rules of the universe, but in order for science determinism to be consistent, a supreme being can’t interfere, Hawking said. In short, scientists find it difficult to make a case for supernatural forces working in the universe because of the randomness of nature, he said.
In his opening, Hawking apologized that his computer voice did not have a Texan accent.
Eric Etheridge, a senior psychology major, said Hawking’s speech was understandable, even for lay-people who don’t study science.
“For the most part I understood the content,” Etheridge said.
Many people in the crowd even brought children. Julia Riegel, an 11-year-old from Washington State who attended with her parents, said that she understood most of Hawking’s speech. John Reigel said he brought his family for the express purpose of seeing Hawking.
“Once you get acclimated to his cadence, it is very illuminating,” Riegel said.
Hawking would pause between ideas, sometimes for almost a minute, while he worked his computer using only a thumb.

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