16 Mar 2018by admin

Remembering the late Professor Stephen Hawking

World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking dies at age 76 in his house at Cambridge on Wednesday. His family didn’t reveal the cause but said that he died ‘peacefully’.

Considered by many as the world’s greatest living scientist, Hawking was also cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician and has penned several books including the best-selling title, ‘A Brief History of Time’, which has over 10 million copies in circulation.A brilliant scientist and a best-selling author, Prof Stephen Hawking has left behind three children and three grandchildren.

He was most known for his work on black holes and relativity. Along with fellow physicist Roger Penrose, Prof Hawking merged Einstein’s theory of general relativity with quantum theory to suggest that space and time began with the Big Bang and would end in black holes. Stephen Hawking is also credited with the discovery of Hawking Radiation, which is aptly named after him. He discovered that black holes are not completely black but emit some kind of radiation and will likely evaporate and disappear.

In 1963 at the age of 21 he was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis) or more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, an untreatable increasingly progressive motor neuron disease. He was given 2 years to live. He defied all the odds and lived till the age of 76. The disease however left him wheel-chair bound and left him paralyzed. He was completely dependent on others or technology for everything – bathing, eating, dressing, even speech.

He used a speech synthesizer that allowed him to speak in a computerized voice. Being a Briton, he chose an American accent.

Hawking held the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge. A seat position which was formerly held by Sir Isaac Newton, the greatest scientist in modern history. When asked, if given a choice to meet Isaac Newton or Marilyn Monroe, the scientist said he would rather meet the movie star!

 

Stephen Hawking quickly gained recognition outside the academic world and became a hero to nerds and pop-culture fans. He guest starred and lent his voice on various shows including the hit TV series The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons and Star Trek: The Next Generation. His life story was turned into a movie in 2014 titled, “The Theory of Everything.”

He was offered a Knighthood by the Queen but later revealed that he had turned it down. Later he was made a CBE, or a Commander in the most Excellent Order of the British Empire, the greatest honour for a British Citizen (one rank below knighthood). He had at least 12 honorary degrees and was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the US’s highest civilian honour, despite being a British citizen in 2009 by the then President Barack Obama.

The release of his 1966 doctoral thesis by the Cambridge University broke the internet! Recently his work was made available to the general public and the amount of people trying to see Stephen Hawking’s thesis crashed Cambridge University’s website.

This just goes to show the love and respect people had for him. His fellow colleagues and the rest of the world took to twitter to express their sadness over the demise of the great Prof Stephen Hawking. Famed astrophysicist Neil De Grasse Tyson – known for the demotion of Pluto from planetary status, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web, Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak, among others expressed their sadness.

He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever. RIP Professor.

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