On 8th January 1942 in Oxford a little boy was born who would go on to change the world’s understanding of black holes and the universe. That boy was Stephen Hawking who passed away early this morning at the age of 76.
In the scientific community Hawking is well known for his research in cosmology and black holes but his 1988 book “A Brief History of Time” inspired generations of ordinary folks and gave a broader understanding of how the universe was shaped and worked.
His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it's not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018. pic.twitter.com/nAanMySqkt
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 14, 2018
“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world,” Hawking’s children said in a statement seen by The Guardian.
While studying at Oxford, Hawking was diagnosed with a rare, early onset, slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis which paralysed him slowly.
Doctors said he had two years to live.
Hawking would go on to live for another five and a half decades albeit confined to a wheelchair.
When his condition rendered him unable to speak Hawking employed the use of a computer and when he could no longer move he used a single cheek muscle to communicate.
“He once said: ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him for ever,” said the Hawking family.
Rest in peace Stephen Hawking, you left an indelible mark on the fabric of humanity and while you were grateful for the time that you had to marvel at the grand design of the universe, we are forever grateful that you shared your understanding of that design with us.[Image – CC BY 4.0 Wikimedia]