Visit London has released details of a conversation between Professor Stephen Hawking and Adaeze Uyanwah, the winner of Visit London’s official guest of honor contest. The world’s best known scientist Professor Stephen Hawking says he was pleased to lend his synthesized ‘voice’ to actor Eddie Redmayne for his Oscar-nominated performance in “The Theory of Everything,” but added, “Unfortunately Eddie did not inherit my good looks.”
Visit London selected a 24-year-old American school teacher, Adaeze Uyanwah, as the Official Guest of Honour in the contest which attracted more than 10,000 entries. The resident of Palmdale, California, is currently visiting some of London’s world famous attractions, immersing herself in one-of-a-kind experiences arranged as part of her two-week-long visit to Great Britain’s capital city. In partnership with VisitBritain and the UK Government’s GREAT Britain campaign, officials and celebrities are rolling out the red carpet for Uyawah.
Uyanwah began her visit with a tour of London’s Museum of Science in the company of Professor Stephen Hawking of the University of Cambridge. In the Space Gallery, he pointed out both the command module of Apollo 10, launched in May 1969 as a dress rehearsal for the first moon landing, and a model of the Apollo 11 moon lander, telling Adaeze, “It is important we continue human space exploration.” He added, “Sending humans to the moon changed the future of the human race in ways that we don’t yet understand…I believe that the long term future of the human race must be space and that it represents an important life insurance for our future survival, as it could prevent the disappearance of humanity by colonizing other planets.” Hawking concluded the tour by telling Uyanwah, “I hope that the objects and galleries you see here today will help remind you, as they did me years ago, to try to make sense of what you see and hold on to that childlike wonder about what makes the universe exist. Look up at the stars and not down at your feet.”
During the Science Museum tour, Adaeze asked Professor Hawking what of our shortcomings as human beings would he alter, what of our virtues would he magnify, if it were possible. Hawking
commented, “The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory, or partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all. A major nuclear war would be the end of civilization, and maybe the end of the human race. The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy. It brings us together in a peaceful, loving state.”
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “This great prize encompasses everything that makes our city truly outstanding and I hope Adaeze enjoys every second. I look forward to welcoming our Guest of Honour to London and hearing about her science trip with the great Professor Stephen Hawking and tour of our historic corridors of power at the Houses of Parliament.”
Uyanwah’s magic moments include having afternoon tea with actor Jim Carter, the butler Carson of “Downton Abbey” at Lord’s Cricket Ground; touring the Royal Opera House with famous ballerina and TV’s “Strictly Come Dancing” judge, Darcey Bussell; taking a tour of the Houses of Parliament with its speaker, raising Tower Bridge over the River Thames; touring Wimbledon with Tim Henman; appearing in the West End as part of the cast of “Mamma Mia!”; going on a £5,000 Oxford Street shopping spree with Glamour UK editor followed by her own photo shoot and plenty more exceptional experiences.
Last year a record 16.8 million international visitors came to London. In preparing for another banner year in 2015, Visit London points out that this year marks the 50th Anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s death, the 125th birthday of Agatha Christie, the 150th anniversary of “Alice in Wonderland,” and the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.