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Entry 495, on 2007-03-15 at 15:57:48 (Rating 3, Comments)

A question I have been asked on several occasions, and often fail to have a good answer for, is this: who are your heroes? There are people in many different fields who I admire and who I think do things at a level above the rest, but I don't know whether I would really call them heroes. Also, the people I tend to admire are generally fairly geeky, and maybe wouldn't be the sort of answer that most of my questioners would expect! Despite these difficulties I am starting to make a list.

As a supporter of science, and as someone who believes science and technology are the most important aspects of human endeavour, I would choose a few scientists, of course. Albert Einstein is an obvious choice, because his discoveries were so revolutionary and still work 100 years later. He also was a real public hero, which is unusual for a scientist.

A more recent scientist who has contributed to the leading edge of physics in a similar way is Stephen Hawking. I admire him for his work, for his contribution to popularising his field of science (mainly cosmology), and for achieving all this despite being crippled with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

What about from the field of art? I admire great musicians, because I'm pretty awful at music myself it seems even more miraculous how some people can play with such intricate precision. Classic composers, like Mozart, seem particularly awesome in this way.

I don't tend to admire business people much, but I would have to put a vote in for Steve Jobs, because I'm an Apple fan, and he just seems to be able to keep Apple making the greatest beautiful, new technology. Even if the real technical talent lies in people like Jonathan Ives, Jobs brings it all together.

I'm afraid I really can't think of anyone in politics who I could add to my list. I think a lot of great people go into politics, but they can never make any genuine changes because of limitations inherent in the system, so I guess they are doomed to failure.

Actually, the reason I even began discussing this topic is because of recent news that Stephen Hawking held a public meeting for 3000 people where he discussed the origin of the Universe. Not only did he present reasonable ideas for where the Universe came from, but he also made jokes which ridiculed religion at the same time. So yes, Hawking is certainly a hero!


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