The famous British physicist Stephen W. Hawking passed away at the age of 76 at his home in Cambridge, England.
Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford, England on January 8, 1942 – coincidentally, his birthday was exactly 300 years from the day the noted Italian astronomer, Galileo Galilei, died.
In 1963, he was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Back then, he was just 21 years old and currently a doctoral candidate at Cambridge University.
Hawking was given just a couple of years to live due to his illness, but the scientist defied the odds by living for fifty years longer than was expected. To date, he was the longest known survivor of ALS.
ALS has rendered Hawking paralyzed, and, over the years, his health declined due to complications. He became wheelchair bound and unable to speak without the help of a speech synthesizer. However, this did not stop the genius in him to contribute to the science community.
The former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge has made numerous valuable discoveries through the years, but, according to him, one of the best discoveries he has ever made is finding out that black holes are not entirely black.
Hawking has authored numerous books. His best-selling book was ‘A Brief History of Time’, which has sold 10 million copies. The book tackles how the universe began and helps the general public understand the concept of physics and cosmos.
One of Hawking’s greatest discoveries is that black holes emit radiation and evaporate. At an interview with BBC just last year, he said he considered himself lucky for reaching the age of 75.
The science community mourns the death of the famed cosmologist. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lawrence M. Krauss, and many other well known scientists together with numerous famous celebrities expressed their sadness over Twitter:
Hawking’s life was so inspiring that a movie was made about it. The “Theory of Everything” depicted the scientist’s life and was released in 2014. Academy award winning actor Eddie Redmayne portrayed Hawking.
The cosmologist has earned countless achievements throughout his career. In 1982, Queen Elizabeth II made him the Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama awarded Hawking with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given to outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to the national interests of the country.
Stephen Hawking was married twice. He was married to Jane Hawking in 1965 and was divorced in 1995. He then married Elaine Mason in 1995 but their marriage ended in 2006. He had three children, Lucy, Timothy, and Robert.
In an interview with ABC back in 2010, Hawking said that “If you are lucky enough to find love, remember is it rare and don’t throw it away.” This only proves that even the brightest of minds could place value in something as simple as any ordinary person would – love.
Stephen Hawking is the perfect epitome of perseverance. His disease did not stop him in doing what he does best – discovering important findings that would benefit humanity.
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