Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Famous Physicist Professor Stephen Hawking Dead at 76

Famous Physicist Professor Stephen Hawking Dead at 76

Hawking inspired us, encouraged us, and taught us up until the end.

Renowned for his scientific work in a number of areas, Hawking left behind a legacy that encompassed a variety of subjects, expounding on everything from the secrets of the universe to artificial intelligence.

His 1988 book A Brief History of Time explained the secrets of the universe in layman's terms and became an worldwide bestseller. To date, the book has sold more than 10 million copies and was turned into a documentary in 1991.

Hawking was one of the world's best known and most highly-regarded scientists. "We have lost a truly lovely mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet", Redmayne wrote. "People who boast about their IQ are losers."- in response to a 2017 question if he believed he was the most intelligent person in the world.

At the age of 21, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease). Hawking eventually rose to the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a position that Isaac Newton once held.

"He was a huge inspiration to me as a teen when I was in and out of wheelchairs from my illness-seeing him keeping on doing science kept me going".

"Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure".

For legendary astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who redefined cosmology by proposing that black holes are mortal, the Nobel Prize for Physics remained elusive as his theory can not be observed or verified.

The response of illustrators and artists to Stephen Hawking's death, however, proves that the physicist managed to connect with ordinary people - whether it was through his work, his devotion to learning or his inspiring words.

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"I had the honor of interviewing Stephen Hawking several times".

"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today", Hawking's three children wrote.

In a statement after Hawking's death at age 76 on Wednesday, she said: "He was a brilliant example on how to face disease with courage. But it would be an empty universe indeed without the people that I love".

As Hawking told NASA Space Station astronauts in 2014, we wish the same for him: "May you keep flying like superman in microgravity".

The world-renowned astrophysicist was given more than a dozen honorary degrees in his career and was awarded a CBE in 1982. Hawking comes up in pop culture, most often in his guest appearances on The Big Bang Theory. In a post on his Facebook page, the physicist said, '"I thought Eddie Redmayne portrayed me very well in The Theory of Everything movie".

And Twitter users also noted March 14 was also significant for another famous scientist - it's Albert Einstein's birthday.

Inside the shell of his increasingly useless body was a razor-sharp mind, with an enduring fascination concerning the mysteries of black holes.

He once described belief in a God who intervenes in the universe "to make sure the good guys win or get rewarded in the next life" as wishful thinking.

"My goal is simple", he once said, "it is complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all".

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