Sunday , June 13 2021

A book donated to the University of Victoria reveals a forgotten letter from Stephen Hawking, an observer of Haida Guyai

The donation of the first edition of Stephen Hawking's book, made in the library of the University of Victoria this year, gave an extra prize.

Folded inside the book – a copy of the 1973 book The large space-time structure by Hawking and G.F.R. Ellis – was a personal letter from the famous English physicist Hawking to the book's owner, Wick's retired professor of ethics and physicist Werner Israel.

Now 87, Israel has once been a Hawking colleague and supported two published works by Hawking, General Theory of Relativity: Einstein's one-hundred-year study and Tristot Years of GravityHis donation to UVic's libraries includes many books, but the greatest discovery is the letter, as reported in the latest issue of Ring magazine.

"The staff of the library found a signed letter from Stephen to Israel dated February 6, 1981 … the letter was closed in the back dust, along with two newspaper cuttings for Hawking's latest achievement, and Israel's summary of important formulas Flyer.

Israel added that his role in editing books was using his expertise, but he did not include active research, he said.

"… There was no need for daily consultations after the initial planning of the themes and authors. I took most of the routine work, which would be a burden on Stephen. But, of course, Stephen's name and charisma brought a welcome reception from all the distinguished authors we invited.

Later Hawking nominated Israel for a scholarship between the Royal Society that he achieved in 1986.

Werner is still a volunteer at ESL students and lives with his wife Inge.

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