“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”
– Stephen hawking
Stephen William Hawking (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018) was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author, and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. His scientific works included a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He was a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics
He died at the age of 76.
He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, his family said.
Hawking had a rare early-onset slow-progressing form of motor neuron disease, that gradually paralyzed him over the decades. Even after the loss of his speech, he was still able to communicate through a speech-generating device, initially through the use of a hand-held switch, and eventually by using a single cheek muscle.
Hawking was famed for his work with black holes and relativity and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.
At the age of 22, Prof Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neuron disease. He was told he had only a brief time on Earth, but spent half a century captivating audiences in lecture halls, on TV and in the pages of his books
Stephen Hawking always had something to say. He shook up the world of cosmology with more than 150 papers, dozens of which became renowned.
Hawking warned about the threats of nuclear war, genetically modified viruses, artificial intelligence and marauding aliens. He pronounced on the human condition and once dismissed the role of God in creating the universe. The statement caused a fuss, as the denial of invisible superbeings still can in the 21st century.
At his best Hawking was spectacular: he made intuitive leaps that will keep scientists busy for decades.