Stephen Hawking dies, leaving ‘theory of all things to the world
The world’s leading physicist, Stephen Hawking, has died at the age of 76.
“We are deeply saddened that our father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for years to come,” said a joint statement, by Lucy, Robert, and Tim, three of the late Hawking’s children.
Hawking’s family said the scientist died peacefully at his residence near Cambridge University.
They praised the late’s “courage and steadfastness” and also said his “wit and humor” inspired people around the world.
“He once said, ‘This universe doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t become the home of your loved ones’. We will always miss him,” the Hawking children said.
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Throughout his life, Hawking was known as a humorous man and a popular ambassador for science. He has appeared in various television shows.
In an episode of the cartoon series The Simpsons, Hawking is depicted drinking with Homer at a bar and joking that he will steal Homer’s idea of a doughnut-like shape of the solar system.
Hawking appeared as himself on the BBC comedy show, Red Dwarf. Hawking’s form in a hologram has also been shown in an episode of the series Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The scientist even voiced some of the recordings. For example, Pink Floyd’s song Keep Talking on the 1994 album The Division Bell.
In Asia, Hawking is known to have a Chinese social media account, Weibo. One of the posts that caught attention was when he praised Wang Junkai—the lead singer of the Chinese boy band, TFBOYS.
Initially, Wang asked Hawking about how humanity would prepare for migration to other planets in the future.
Hawking later posted a video on Weibo in which he stated that Wang asked: “good questions” that got him insight into millennials in China and their “curiosity” about the future.
The discussion of migration to other planets comes after Hawking recently warned that all humanity must leave Earth within the next 600 years before a drastic increase in energy consumption makes the planet a “fireball”.
The statement immediately sparked discussion among the Chinese audience, of whom 4.3 million follow Hawking’s Weibo account.
Motor nerve disease
Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford, on 8 January 1942. His father, a biological researcher, decided to stay there to escape the bombing of London by the Germans.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in physics at Oxford University with honors, Hawking moved to Cambridge University to complete his doctoral studies in cosmology.
However, at the age of 22—on the eve of his marriage to his first wife, Jane—Hawking was sentenced to only two years to live due to a neurological disease that affects motor skills.
It turned out that the disease progressed slowly and Hawking escaped death. Hawking and Jane were blessed with three children.
However, his body was paralyzed so he had to use a wheelchair. He also cannot speak, unless assisted by a voice device.
Under these conditions, Hawking was able to complete a book called A Brief History of Time —a guide to cosmology.
The book sold more than 10 million copies with the title “most popular book never read”.
A Brief History of Time boosted Hawking’s popularity. Moreover, he discovered ‘Hawking radiation’—the phenomenon of energy leakage in black holes that causes them to disappear without a trace.
He is also known to be very capable of visualizing scientific solutions without calculations or experiments.
However, perhaps what made Hawking so famous is his “theory of everything,” which holds that the universe developed according to definite laws.
“This complete set of laws gives us answers to a variety of questions, such as how did the universe begin? Where did it go? Is there an end? If there is an end, what will it end like? If we find the answers to these questions, we will really know the way of God’s mind,” he explained.
This ‘theory of everything’ was later used as the title of the film The Theory of Everything which tells the story of his life. Hawking even met Eddie Redmayne who played him.
Can’t lose hope
Hawking’s body condition makes him very dependent on others. He often praised his wife, who had cared for him for more than 20 years.
Therefore, his friends and relatives were shocked when he divorced his wife and married one of his nurses in 1995.
Five years later Hawking made frequent visits to the emergency department at a Cambridge hospital due to various injuries. Police have questioned a number of people because of allegations that Hawking was physically and verbally abused for years.
Hawking is known for being unpredictable and often reckless while riding in his electric wheelchair. He insisted he was not tortured and the charges were later dropped.
In 2007, he became a disabled person who experienced the sensation of weightlessness while aboard the ‘vomit comet’—a plane specifically designed to simulate zero gravity. He admitted that he did it because he was interested in space travel.
“I believe that life on Earth is increasingly at risk of disasters, such as sudden nuclear war, modified viruses, or other hazards. I don’t think humanity has a future if it doesn’t go into space. Therefore, I want to encourage public interest in outer space. space,” he said.
Despite having a disability, Hawking believes that this condition has not stopped him from starting a family and working.
“It shows that one should not lose hope,” he said.
Facts about Stephen Hawking:
- Born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England.
- Initially, he studied natural sciences at Oxford University in 1959 but earned his doctorate at Cambridge University.
- In 1963, he was diagnosed with a neurological disease that affects motor skills. He is estimated to only be able to survive for two years.
- Proposed the theory in 1974 that black holes emit “Hawking radiation”.
- Released the book A Brief History of Time in 1988. The book sold more than 10 million copies.
- His story was made into the film The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne in 2014.