Stephen Hawking is a newcomer to Facebook, but he’s already figured out how to get the most bang for his buck. The renowned scientist joined the dominant social network earlier this month but posted nothing beyond a profile picture, creating a waiting game and building expectations. Perhaps he merely wasn’t ready to post yet, or perhaps he wanted to wait until he had an audience at hand. But in the interim he amassed more than a million online fans – and finally broke the silence today with a slew of status updates.
Hawking, the seventy-two year old theoretical physicist who is considered one of the most authoritative minds of his generation, used his first post to explain that he’s “always wondered what makes the universe exist” and promised to deliver posts in that regard. Three hours later he quipped that it wouldn’t be safe for him to perform the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge himself due to the neurological disease that has crippled his body, but he did post video of his sons performing the challenge. This evening he expounded on the STARMUS festival and in particular the speech by Richard Dawkins on alien life. Hawkins then joked “Some people say I’m an alien myself, with my robot voice.”
Audience response has been positive so far. His first post received five thousand shares, with the University of Cambridge quickly commenting “Nice to see you here.” Hawking held the Lucasian Chair at Cambridge for thirty years.
The upcoming movie The Theory Of Everything, launching in two weeks, details the life of Stephen Hawking – making the timing of his arrival on Facebook all the more fortuitous. He currently has 1,082,593 likes on his page, growing at a rate of about ten per second. The Theory Of Everything is in theaters starting November 7. Hawking will no doubt have something to say on his Facebook feed about the film before it arrives.