WATERLOO, Ont. — Celebrity scientist Stephen Hawking is attracting lots of attention in Waterloo, Ont where he’s spending the next six weeks.
Hawking is at Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics to collaborate on research into such mind bending topics as the origin of the universe. But the world’s most recognizable man of science is also taking time to see the sites and engage the locals.
Neil Turok is director of the Perimeter Institute and worked closely with Hawking at England’s Cambridge University. He tells the Globe and Mail that despite being confined to a wheelchair and having to use a speech synthesizer to talk, the famed physicist is no shrinking violet and likes to lead a normal life.
So he’s been visiting local parks, farmers’ markets and restaurants — and Dr. Turok says Hawking seems to be truly enjoying the warm reception he’s been getting.
Case in point, the two went out to dinner last Saturday, and when it came time to pay the bill they were delighted to learn the tab had been covered by an admiring patron who chose to remain anonymous.
Later when they visited a park to check out the new wing of the Perimeter Institute that’s named after Hawking, Turok says a group of excited young kids came running over shouting “That’s Stephen Hawking.”
Dr. Hawking will deliver a televised lecture later this month, the one public event of his six-week stay in Canada. The lecture will be broadcast on June 20 at 8 p.m. ET on TVO.