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Mysteries of Stephen Hawking’s doodle-filled blackboard may finally be solved

Hawking’s blackboard is filled with doodles, in-jokes and half-finished equations scrawled by friends and fellow physicists in 1980. (Image credit: Isidora Bojovic/Science Museum Group)

A new museum exhibit hopes to uncover the secrets behind the doodles, in-jokes and coded messages on a blackboard that legendary physicist Stephen Hawking kept untouched for more than 35 years.

The blackboard dates from 1980, when Hawking joined fellow physicists at a conference on superspace and supergravity at the University of Cambridge in the U.K., according to The Guardian. While attempting to come up with a cosmological “theory of everything” — a set of equations that would combine the rules of general relativity and quantum mechanics — Hawking’s colleagues used the blackboard as a welcome distraction, filling it with a mishmash of half-finished equations, perplexing puns and inscrutable doodles.

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