No Time Wasted with Stephen Hawking Speech

By Andrew Ivey | Speeches

Apr 05
Speech by Stephen Hawking

Professor Stephen Hawking's speech

For most of us the time taken to type out a speech is small compared with the time needed for preparation and planning. It’s small compared with the time needed for practice and rehearsal.

But for Professor Stephen Hawking quite the reverse is true. His speeches take an age to type out.

Just prior to his recent speech at the Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas he noted how his one hour speech had taken him weeks to type out.

The professor suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Such is the nature of the disease that Professor Hawking’s mind continues to work at extraordinary levels whilst his body is nearly beyond his control. His typing speed is some five words a minute. Most of us can type at the rate of 60 or 70 words a minute.

So his speech on the origins of the universe took some time to prepare. But his 2,500 strong audience at the Texas A&M University was impressed.

Astro-physics is not the easiest subject for an audience to comprehend. But the professor’s speech made things simple. Simple concepts, simple words and simple sentences.

He used analogies. Our globe, planet Earth, was used to explain time. The South Pole is the dawn of time and time advances with increasing latitude.

He neatly preempted the obvious question with the line:

To ask what happened before the beginning of the universe would become a meaningless question because there is nothing south of the South Pole.

That makes some kind of sense, I guess.

He used an example of the bubbles in boiling water to explain the possibility of other universes out there…noting in his speech that most bubbles collapse very quickly and so do most universes. There’s a possibility of life out there, but only a possibility.

This was a well-received speech that quickly and succinctly got its point across.

Yes, Please

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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+

  • He’s absolutely right! I train people in how to make presentations and I generally suggest that for every minute ‘on stage’ I recommend an hour’s preparation/practice.

    Most people don’t put nearly enough prep time into their presentations! We could all do with taking a leaf out of Prof Hawkin’s book….. 🙂

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