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Stephen Hawking to narrate Paralympics opening

By Hamish Johnston

While the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics did a wonderful job of highlighting what was great about Britain (and Northern Ireland), I couldn’t help thinking that the nation’s scientists were short-changed. While the ceremony celebrated the industrial revolution, there was no reference to the great British scientists who developed the scientific groundwork that made it possible.

Now it looks as if Britain’s scientists will bask in the glory of this evening’s opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics – with Stephen Hawking playing a prominent role. Co-directed by Bradley Hemmings and Jenny Sealey, the ceremony begin at 20:30 BST and is called “Enlightenment” – and yes, it refers to the Enlightenment!

The British press is reporting that it will include references to British scientific giants of that era – with the Daily Telegraph quoting London Olympics and Paralympics head Sebastian Coe as saying “It focuses on that extraordinary period in European history and the great intellectual revolution that took place…Everything from Newton making sense of gravity and motion to Napier with logarithms and Harvey with blood circulation.”

Logarithms – I can’t wait, and if that isn’t enough excitement, the BBC reports that Stephen Hawking will provide some of the narration for the ceremony. “We worked very closely with Professor Hawking to develop a series of messages that are very much integrated into the storytelling of the ceremony,” the BBC quoted Hemmings as saying.

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