Hawking statue to be unveiled as Cosmology centre opens

17 December 2007

The participants in a landmark Cambridge conference which reshaped our understanding of the nature of the universe will reunite this week for the opening of the University's Centre for Theoretical Cosmology.

Professor Stephen Hawking, who organised the original 'Very Early Universe' (VEU) workshop, will be joined by colleagues from the event in 1982, for the formal launch of the Centre where it is hoped future scientists will build on the foundations he laid.

Scientists will use the new facility to further develop understanding of the universe's creation.

The opening is part of a four-day symposium of leading theoreticians celebrating the 25th anniversary of the VEU workshop and discussing the future of the field.

The original meeting marked the development of a new theory which preceded the 'Big Bang' known as the 'inflationary universe model'. The model worked out how tiny vibrations of fields in the vacuum could be amplified on a much larger scale forming galaxies and stars.

The new Centre for Theoretical Cosmology (CTC) will feature a unique statue of Professor Hawking by late artist Ian Walters. The sculptor is renowned for his full-body work depicting Nelson Mandela which stands in Parliament Square. The Hawking sculpture was his last public work before he sadly died last year.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alison Richard, will be joined by distinguished guests for the opening of the facility at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Wilberforce Road on Wednesday 19 December.

At the opening Professor Stephen Hawking and the Director of the Centre, Professor Neil Turok, will outline their plans to put the CTC at the centre of development and testing of theories of the Universe.

Professor Turok, Chair of Mathematical Physics at the University, recently won a prestigious international award, the TED prize, for his work in the field of theoretical cosmology and his efforts as an education activist.

The Centre, part of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP), will enable the University to continue its ground-breaking work in theoretical physics and cosmology.