The word “revolutionary” will not do justice in describing the man. Neither will “genius” nor will “impactful”. Stephen Hawking transcended all these – impressively marking himself out to be the most renowned scientist of the times. His presence in today’s world of denial pressed humanity to believe in science.
On the 14th of March, 2018, the entire world was put into a state of shock and sorrow with the news of Stephen Hawking’s death. The physicist slipped into death at the age of 76 in his house, in Cambridge. Contemplating about gravity and the origin of the universe, Hawking gave the world various invaluable contributions to science.
The day Hawking died stands to be Albert Einstein’s Birthday as well.
Stephen Hawking’s works in science are far from being understood by many people. What made him the face of science was his excellent means of communication. Through authoring “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes”, he reached out to millions of people in the world, endearing them to imagine possibilities beyond the perceivable. The man’s witty sense of humour coupled with his ideas about the future, sparked interest and induced scientific literacy in people.
When Stephen Hawking was 21, he faced a deadly disease that he lived with till the end of his life. Struck with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – a motor neuron disease, Hawking was left crippled for 55 years in near-death conditions. When he was first diagnosed with the disease, he was expected to live only for a couple of years. His dream of completing his doctorate was thrown under the rugs. Nonetheless, he decided to do what he wanted to, what come may. His defiance to the disease accentuated his never-ending contributions to physics, bringing masses to look up to him.
At the age of 32, Hawking became one of the youngest fellows of the Royal Society of London. Soon after, he was appointed as Lucasian professor of mathematics in Cambridge University – holding a position that was once held by Sir Isaac Newton.
Stephen Hawking studied extensively about the laws of the universe. Using Einstein’s theory of Relativity and Quantum theory, he determined that black holes – bodies we thought could only take in stuff – emit radiation. Hawking Radiation arises as a result of negative mass particles falling into black holes, technically making them radiate mass. His research led to substantial paradigm shifts in the understanding of black holes. These works prove that the man was full of life – wanting to uncover more as each day passed, having a drive like none other.
The theoretical physicist has also made startling predictions for mankind. Hawking believed that artificial intelligence would not just have an impact over economy, but would spell the end of the human race. What he emphasised on the most however was that humans should leave the earth in the next few hundred years, if we wanted to survive.
“I believe life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers.”
– Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking’s books will continue to live on for ages. Apart from ‘A Brief History of Time”, he has written books that appeal to non-scientists such as “The Universe in a Nutshell”, “A Briefer History of Time” and “The Grand Design”. In 2007, he wrote a series of children’s books with his daughter Lucy on the creation of the universe. He appeared in the movie “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and played multiple cameos in the popular television show “The Big Bang Theory”. In 2014, a movie based on his life was released called “The Theory of Everything” which captured the hearts of millions, and was praised by Hawking himself. Eddie Redmayne, who portrayed Hawking won an Oscar for his performance as Best Actor.
Stephen Hawking was no mere scientist. He knew how to live life the right way, although he had feeble means to. He travelled far and wide, fell in love, married and fathered 3 children. He moved thousands of students and wrote unbeatable best-sellers. The man was never truly disabled. He will forever live in the hearts of billions.