CECs, Centro de Estudios Científicos (Center for Scientific Studies) is a private, non-profit corporation, devoted to the development, promotion and diffusion of scientific research. CECs was founded in 1984 as the Center for Scientific Studies of Santiago and has since been directed by physicist Claudio Bunster.

“If you plan to make a voyage of discovery, choose a ship of small draught”
Captain James Cook rejecting the large ships offered by the Admiralty for the search of a new continent.
Hawking: "The most exciting experience in my career..." PDF Print E-mail
portadaLast Saturday (September 11, 2010), UK newspaper 'The Guardian' published an interview with Stephen Hawking, where the renowned British theoretical physicist surprised everyone by answering that the biggest excitement during his scientific career is related to an experience linking him directly with our country, especially with CECS and the Chilean Air Force.

In the winter of 1997, Stephen Hawking visited Chile for the first time invited by CECS.

The purpose of his visit was to participate with other world level theoretical physicists in a scientific seminar that discussed fundamental aspects involving gravitation and quantum mechanics, from the theory of black holes to the whole universe.

The first part of the seminar was held in the old installations of our Institute in Santiago, in 3132 Presidente Errázuriz Street, in the Las Condes commune.

The second part of the seminar was held in a spectacular setting two days later – in Antarctic territory.

For this purpose, Chile’s Air Force transported the group to Air Force Base “Teniente Marsh” on Isla Rey Jorge. This is the context that explains the enthusiasm and eloquent words by Hawking when he says to The Guardian that the experience “had been the most exciting one in his career”.

This is what Hawking said to The Guardian: "When I visited Antarctica in 1997. The Chilean Air Force took a group of theoretical physicists to its base on Isla Rey Jorge, in the Antarctic Peninsula. Although my wheelchair has snow chains, they took me for a ride on a snow vehicle”.

Between both parts of that seminar, CECS prepared a conference by the British scientist for a wide audience.

The response was unexpected and became a completely unprecedented event.

Over four thousand people, including authorities, businessmen, military personnel, writers, artists, young students, housewives… all met in Estación Mapocho and allowed themselves to be carried away by the attractive proposition of the British cosmologist of venturing on a joint journey to the universe in order to get a glimpse of the wealth of the time-space structure.

That conference was sponsored by private business. In the attached video, one can see and listen to the whole conference by Stephen Hawking.

Before the actual conference, the video also shows the words expressed by Bruno Philippi highlighting the importance for the private sector of disseminating science, as well as the introduction of the distinguished guest and speaker by our Director Claudio Bunster.

Leonard Susskind, another participant in the seminar, was one of the inventors of the string theory, and is a Professor at Stanford University, who – as Hawking – finds time to write with mastery about state-of-the-art theoretical physics issues, in addition to reflections about science aimed at a wider public. In one of those books, «The Cosmic Landscape», he begins with a description of that unforgettable trip to Antarctica using vibrant and novel-like prose (see: Leonard Susskind, "The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design", Little, Brown and Co., NY, 2006).

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Ver video de la Conferencia en la Estación Mapocho

Nota en 'The Guardian'

Nota en 'Las Últimas Noticias'