Stephen Hawking, science’s brightest genius, passed away on Wednesday morning of 14th March 2018, at the of 76. He has inspired millions of people around the world with his insights of shaped modern cosmology and relativity. He died at his home in Cambridge, England and as confirmed by his children, Lucy, Robert and Time he passed away peacefully. The family is deeply saddened by the death of their beloved father but said they were proud of all what he has done. A condolence book has been kept at the Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge, where Stephen Hawking was a fellow.
In the year 1963, at the of 21, Stephen was diagnosed with a disease called ALS, also known as motor neuron disease, it causes cells in the brain and spinal cord to degenerate. He was given only a few years to live after the diagnosis, but he lived for almost a century because his condition was a rare, slow-progressing form of ALS which gradually paralyzed him over the years. He started taking support from crunches first, but after a long fight, his illness left him in a wheelchair, and then he lost his ability to speak. He used to communicate using a speech-generating device, called synthesizer, which was attached to one of his cheek muscles.
Those who live knowing they can die any moment, are usually the ones who live their lives the most. When Prof Hawking was diagnosed with a terminal disease in his early years of life, instead of that making him weak, it ignited a fresh sense of purpose in his life. He said, “Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research,” he also added, “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”
Prof. Hawking was a man of courage, persistence, brilliance, and humor. He was the first to set out a theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics. He also discovered that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing, a phenomenon that later became known as Hawking radiation. While he was working with mathematician Sir Roger Penrose, he demonstrated that Einstein’s general theory of relativity implies space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes. In 1982, he was among the first ones to show how quantum fluctuations take place.
Hawkings had gained a lot of fame with all his theories and work over the years, but what really rocketed his fame was his book, ‘A Brief History of Time.’ It was published in 1988 and made it to the Guinness Book of World Records after staying on the Sunday Times bestsellers list for 237 weeks. The book was translated into 40 different languages and was sold 10m copies.
At the young age of 32, Prof. Hawking’s radical discoveries led to his election of 1974 for the Royal Society. In 1979 he became the Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, a position which was once taken by Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage, and Paul Dirac. He was the greatest physicist of his time and a towering figure in cosmology. He won the Albert Einstein Award, the Wolf Prize, the Copley medal, and the Fundamental Physics Prize. He was at the White House, to deliver a speech when Bill Clinton was president, and again in 2009 to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.
Prof. Hawking was accused of being sexist and misogynist, and his most outspoken comments offended the religious ones. In his book ‘Grand Design,’ which was published in 2010, he stated that there was no need of God to have the universe going, When he was once asked, he dismissed the comforts of religious belief, he said. “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
His life was played out in documentaries and biographies. The most recent one is ‘The Theory of Everything,’ in which his role is played by the Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne. He has also appeared in several TV series and movies, The Simpsons, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Big Bang Theory and many more.
Stephen Hawking was a great scientist and a man with an extraordinary mind. His work and legacy will live on for many years, to inspire a million more people of generations which are yet to come. We’ll end this, with a quote by him on life, “One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning, and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”