By: Jack Bader, NetEffects’ President
“You can explain anything with physics”…this was my mantra growing up. In high school I spent hours in the physics laboratory doing many of the classic experiments that had been done centuries ago. College brought more physics and also added courses like astronomy and philosophy (metaphysics in that one).
My deep interest in the field led to my reading various books by famous physicists past and current…Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History in Time was one of the more memorable. Professor Hawking, along with Roger Penrose, did groundbreaking research on unifying General Relativity with Quantum Theory.
Since the age of 20 Stephen Hawking has been dealing with the effects of ALS, a degenerative motor neurone disease that has left him in a wheelchair, hardly able to move and unable to speak without the aid of sophisticated adaptive communication computers. Through all of this he has been a prolific publisher of scientific theories and papers…and raised three children.
So when I was offered the opportunity to actually accompany Stephen Hawking on a ride in a zero gravity airplane (aka the “Vomit Comet”) I jumped at the chance. On April 26 I will travel to Kennedy Space Center to fly in a specially equipped Boeing 727 named G-FORCE ONE. For a multitude of reasons this is an important event.
I believe Professor Hawking is an inspiration to us all and models behavior that we should employ in our everyday lives. In spite of increasing levels of problems he has remained positive and confident that he can make a contribution to the world. No matter how difficult our days can be, how challenging a project we are given there is a way to get through and achieve success. It involves hard work and the need to focus on a goal. I want to meet him and thank him for his efforts.
One of my personal life goals is to orbit the earth and like Professor Hawking said recently, this training will be a nice first step. I have seen many movies and several reality shows where people float weightless and it looks to be amazingly fun. To be able to do flips and float around will be exciting and to do it with Professor Hawking will be a truly memorable experience.
Professor Hawking’s flight will be highly publicized and will be seen by people all over the world, especially by people who are themselves disabled. I cannot imagine a better role model than someone with a severe disability who is able to achieve one of his personal goals.
Finally, I am happy to financially support an event which will benefit various charitable organizations. NetEffects has a long history of philanthropic activity and we regularly support a variety of causes including The ALS Association. Several of our client managers have ALS and I will be proud to represent them while floating without gravity. Hopefully, I’ll be able to “keep my breakfast down” so wish me “good luck”.