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Indian scientist who played Table Tennis with Stephen Hawking remembers him

Reminiscing his Cambridge days, Narlikar said during a summer vacation at Royal Greenwich Observatory, they had arranged a table tennis tournament

Press Trust of India  |  Pune 

Stephen Hawking
In this March 30, 2015 file photo, Professor Stephen Hawking poses for photographers upon arrival for the Interstellar Live show at the Royal Albert Hall in central London. Photo: PTI

British theoretical physicist proved his medical prognosis wrong in 1964 and went on with his pioneering work in astrophysics, recalled his contemporary and noted Indian scientist Dr

"In 1964, a close friend of Hawking's family told me about his illness and said that he had only two years (to live). It was a shock to me but he outlived (it) and the medical prognosis was wrong," Narlikar said, adding that the condition of the iconic British physicist worsened over the years.

Hailing Hawking, who was his junior at Cambridge, the Pune-based astrophysicist said he was "unusual personality in cosmology who did a solid work on Black Holes, radiation emitted by them and overall physics".

"He was an unusual type of personality in cosmology, relativity and black holes. The unusual thing about him was that he could do all the sums in his head and though his body was not responding, his work was commendable," Narlikar recalled.

He said Hawking showed to the world that radiation can escape from black holes which are believed to absorb everything, and this was his "biggest discovery".

"It was an unexpected result, which he derived when he was quite young," Narlikar said.

Reminiscing his days, Narlikar said during a summer vacation at Royal Greenwich Observatory, they had arranged a table tennis tournament.

"In the final, I was playing Hawking and I defeated him," he said Though Hawking was my junior, we could discuss a lot of things.

Though Hawking at that time looked normal from the outside, he may not be quite so internally, Narlikar said, adding, "It is quite commendable that although his body was not functioning properly, he did some wonderful work for science.

First Published: Thu, March 15 2018. 08:41 IST
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