Friday, April 27, 2007
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking floated free in zero gravity Thursday, becoming the first person with a disability to have the experience.Is there a person on Earth who better deserves such an experience? I think not. (Though I bet the experience didn't beat playing holodeck poker with Newton and Einstein.)
The zero-gravity flight in a modified jet creates the experience of microgravity during 25-second plunges -- called parabolas -- over the Atlantic Ocean.
Hawking, a mathematics professor at the University of Cambridge who has done groundbreaking work on black holes and the origins of the universe, has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He cannot speak or move.
He is one of the best-known theoretical physicists of his generation and also wrote the book "A Brief History of Time."
A doctor and three nurses monitored Hawking throughout the Zero Gravity Corp. flight. The scientist floated in the air, free of his wheelchair and electronic communication gear for the first time in 40 years.
Or having a beer with Homer at Moe's!
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