Renowned physicist and modern cosmology patron, Stephen Hawking, passed away on March 14, 2018 at his home in Cambridge. He was 76.
The death was confirmed by the Professor’s children Lucy, Robert and Tim who said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.
About Stephen Hawking
• The great physicist was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, where his parents had decamped from north London for him to be born away from the worst of the wartime bombing raids.
• When he was 8, the family moved to St Albans where he attended school before going to Oxford University.
• Despite being diagnosed with the life-threatening ALS disease in 1963, he went on to Cambridge University to study Cosmology, gaining his PhD and becoming a research fellow and lecturer.
• His most notable work has been on the basic laws which govern the universe - including theories about the Big Bang and black holes.
A Genius First
• Hawking’s first major breakthrough came in 1970 when he and Roger Penrose applied the mathematics of black holes to the entire universe and showed that a singularity, a region of infinite curvature in spacetime, lay in our distant past: the point from which came the big bang.
• Hawking continued to work on black holes and in 1974 drew on quantum theory to declare that black holes should emit heat and eventually pop out of existence.
• In 1982, Hawking was among the first to show how quantum fluctuations – tiny variations in the distribution of matter – might give rise through inflation to the spread of galaxies in the universe.
• Hawkings wrote ‘A Brief History of Time’ explaining complex scientific theories to the masses, which was published for the first time in 1988.
• The book sold 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages. It even made it into the Guinness Book of Records after it stayed on the Sunday Times bestsellers list for an unprecedented 237 weeks.
• The book was also the subject of the Oscar-winning film ‘The Theory of Everything’ in 2014.
• Besides this, Hawking wrote many books and won a string of awards throughout an illustrious career.
• He was known as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Albert Einstein.
• While studying at Oxford, the Hawking became increasingly clumsy, falling down the stairs and having trouble rowing.
• His speech started to slur and he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) - a form of motor neurone disease at the age of 21, in 1963.
• He used to communicate using a single cheek muscle attached to a speech-generating device.
• Though the doctors gave him a life expectancy of just two years, he managed to live with the condition for more than 50 years - no less than a medical marvel!