Stephen Hawking and George Mitchell Totally Wheelchair Raced
As the tributes and memorials keep pouring out for George P. Mitchell, father of fracking, savior of Galveston and creator of the Woodlands, it seems pretty clear that he was a pretty cool dude.
Photo by Margaret Downing George Mitchell in Galveston in summer 2012.
In fact, Mitchell was cool enough that he and famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking were buddies who shared a mutual love of science and enjoyed racing each other in their wheelchairs, thus making Mitchell seem even more awesome posthumously.
Mitchell, a native of Galveston, was the man who believed he could use slant drilling and hydraulic fracturing to get a well flowing from the Barnett Shale, the dense brittle shale formation in North Texas, and then went and did it, sparking a shale energy boom that most thought would never be seen in this country again.
Aside from that, he was also really into science and he funded all kinds of scientific research, and was instrumental in getting the Superconducting Super Collider project approved by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s (it was killed off, half finished, because of budget cuts in the 1990s.) He quietly saved the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer at Texas A&M University, and funded research to create stronger magnets to help in cancer research. And the list just goes on and on.