Stephen Hawking, known for his brilliance as an English theoretical physicist, has died at age 76 by the disease known as ALS, a disease he had willfully combatted for years. During these times Hawking had overcame the motor neurone disease by writing discoveries shedding light on unfound knowledge of the universe. His biggest discovery was with physicist Roger Penrose, as Hawking merged Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum theory to produce the speculation that space and time would begin with the big bang and end with black holes. In his published papers he was known as proving the many worlds interpretation and quantum mechanics.
Hawking was not only a theoretical physicist, but also a best-selling author, a cosmologist, mathematician, astronomer and was the director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology. One of his best works was “A Brief History of Time” which has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. His latest work, known as “A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation” consists of how the world we know will end in a great ball of fire, ceasing existence for the human race.
During his lifetime, Hawking was diagnosed with ALS in 1963, when he was only twenty-one years old. The disease, as doctors initially told him, would kill Hawking in only a few years. These “few years” however, turned out to be more than expected. Hawking didn’t give up in despair. Instead the scientist had adapted himself to his dilemma, using a speech synthesizer that allowed him to speak, and from then had progressed human society with sharp understanding of relativity and quantum mechanics.
“I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many.” Hawking wrote on his website.
Hawking was born in Oxford, England on Jan. 8, 1942, on the 300th anniversary of Galileo Galilei death. Galilei was a brilliant astronomer and physicist. As the years progressed from his elementary and high school years, Hawking began his university education at Oxford in 1959 at age 17, finding the academic work “ridiculously easy.” He began his professional career in 1966 by extending his singularity thesis, an advancement from his doctoral thesis.
At Cambridge, he held the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. This prestigious post was previously held by one of the greatest scientists in modern history, Sir Isaac Newton, for thirty years until 2009. He focused his work on research for the Institute of Theoretical Cosmology. The year after, he published a work known as “Grand Design” with Leonard Mlodinow. When it was published, Hawking had announced to CNN that the creation of the universe can be explained without a one powerful creator.
“Gravity and quantum theory caused universes to be created spontaneously out of nothing,” Hawking told CNN in 2010. “God may exist, but science can explain the universe without the need for a creator.”
Hawking also added that science is increasingly answering questions that used to be a province for religion.
The scientist had attained 12 honorary degrees in his lifetime. One of his biggest honors however, was the CBE in 1982. This was also known as the Commander in the Most Excellent Order in the British Empire, and is considered a major honor for a British citizen, being one rank below knighthood. He was even awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by U.S. President Barack Obama.
Many scientists deeply respect Hawking for his influential work and drive in the scientific fields. His passing has made a great impact on them all. Not only the scientists, but the whole world grieves for the departure of such a brilliant man. He was well known everywhere, being a public icon with his guests appearances and roles in numerous television shows and interviews. He was an inspiring figure who fought against the toughest odds and thrived on success through his unbeatable genius and willpower. We say goodbye to a legend.
Joseph Frare is a staff columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.