Today marks the day that the world parted with an absolute genius. An icon, a brilliant world renowned physicist and an all-round inspiring man, Stephen Hawking is said to have passed away in his home in Cambridge at age 76. Despite the cause of death having not been disclosed yet, rumors are circulating that he either died peacefully or as a result of complications due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
As a tribute to his many contributions to the field of science, let’s look back upon this mastermind’s life.
Hawking was born in 1942, England. Between his father being a physician and his mother, a medical secretary (both of whom studied at Oxford), needless to say Hawking’s home environment was highly intellectually stimulating.
During his undergraduate level, he hardly stressed on studies and missed out on lectures but his natural talent and intellect was made prominent through his results. Bordering between a first and second class honors, he faced an oral examination where he, himself gave the examiners the ultimatum of giving him a first class so he could continue his studies at Cambridge or remain at Oxford with a second class. As expected, he got a first.
It was during his years studying at Cambridge that he was diagnosed at age 21 with a rare onset of ALS and given 2 years to live. Hawking amazingly outlived this deadline by decades, clearly a miracle in itself. Struggling to remain motivated with the cards life had dealt him, he continued to work for his PhD regardless and chose to get married to Jane Wilde. Obtaining his doctorate degree, his work in the years that followed showed him to be an immensely talented physicist that made him quite popular in the field of science. This admiration spread across fields as more people heard of his situation and his contributions to modern-day cosmology.
“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”
Despite being paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair as well as later robbed of his voice in 1985, Hawking continued to communicate using a single cheek muscle attached to a speech generating device. Most would have thought his professional life would have come to a halt here but he proceeded to achieve many more accomplishments during the span of his life. First and foremost a theoretical physicist and cosmologist globally known for his relentless work on black holes and relativity, he was also the best-selling author of A Brief History of Time and many other books and the Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge.
It doesn’t end there, however – he was also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He made appearances in shows such as Star Trek, Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons and various documentaries.
Above all this, he was known as the man who actually enjoyed his job despite the many obstacles he faced; a man who breached several boundaries- all with a wicked sense of humor that made him well loved amongst society. Stephen Hawking used his intellect and outlook on life to show the world the limitless possibilities of persistence and determination. This was a man truly ahead of his time and he will be sorely missed.
“My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.”