Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Balking at Hawking

Stephen Hawking was no great shakes as a husband. So says the first Mrs. Hawking, whose tender love story is captured in The Theory of Everything, for which Eddie Redmayne just won an Oscar (the Academy, as per usual, tending to give the award to actors who are persuasive in simulating severe infirmity--think Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man and this year's Best Actress winner). Jane Hawking--Felicity Jones plays her in the movie--writes that she and her three kids were sidelined after Hawking published his great, unread best seller and became a superstar. Prior to that time, though, life with the cosmologist wasn't exactly a party:
She met Hawking on a railway platform when she was a teenager and he was yet to be diagnosed with his debilitating disease. They married young – “because we didn’t know how long Stephen was going to live” – and she became used to him being lost in thought. “The goddess Physics was Stephen’s idol. I was not jealous of her but she did give me some cause for concern. Sometimes Stephen would spend a whole weekend in his wheelchair, elbow resting on his knee like Rodin’s Thinker. He wouldn’t take any notice of the children, or of me, and I would become very worried. Was he uncomfortable or ill, or had I upset him in some way? Then, on the Monday morning, he would look up and smile and say, “I’ve solved that equation!”
I can think of few things worse than being married to a genius.

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