Sunday, March 30, 2014

Stephen Hawking - Sailor and Rower

Congratulations to LaurenceFL for correctly deducing the answer to yesterday's photo quiz. The young boy sailing on the Norfolk Broads in England was indeed Stephen Hawking.

Did you know that Hawking was also a rower? Or to be more accurate, while an undergraduate at Oxford he did join the Boat Club as a cox. Check out The Clever Cox on Hear The Boat Sing. Would you have found it easier to guess the mystery man from this picture?

The pictures of Stephen Hawking sailing and rowing both appear in his 2013 autobiography My Brief History which I have recently been reading and from which I learned that the first symptoms of Stephen's motor neuron disease didn't appear until his final year at Oxford. He noticed that he was getting clumsy and, after falling downstairs on one occasion, he went to a doctor who advised him to "Lay off the beer!"

Here is a video of the memorable scene from Star Trek: The Next Generation in which Hawking appeared as himself playing poker with Newton, Einstein and Lieutenant Commander Data.

I was planning to use the punch line of this scene, "Wrong again, Albert!" as a clue, but then LaurenceFL worked it out before I had a chance.


JP said...

I would not have guessed that: you learn something new every day.

Tillerman said...

JP, I did think that you were the most likely person to get the answer to yesterday's quiz, but then perhaps you didn't see it in time.

Baydog said...

I, too, never would have guessed that.

Tillerman said...

Apparently Hawking was a very daring, not to say erratic, cox. On one occasion he steered his eight into a head on collision with another eight. He claims in his book that he had right of way!

JP said...

I did see it and should have picked up the big bang clue but to be honest I haven't read Hawking's autobio.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry - I didn't mean to stand between you and a punchline!

Hawking's approach to coxing(?) sounds somewhat like a young Russel Coutts. In his autobiography he describes how he came upon his nickname "Crash Coutts", including nearly sinking a beautiful old committee boat in an Auckland regatta (from memory a match racing regatta?).

Tillerman said...

That's OK LaurenceFL.

JP - I don't think I left a big bang theory clue on this quiz, did I? I did mention big bang theory to you in a comment to your post about offshore sailing and space travel, although it wold have been a good clue here too.

Especially as Hawking did appear in the TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

Genie said...

Actually that picture does not look in the least like Stephen Hawking. It looks suspiciously like an actor in an episode of Blackadder!!!!

Genie said...

Oh, pardon.....I hadn't played the video. That actor was playing Newton.

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