Prof. Stephen Hawking peacefully passed away at his home in Cambridge on the 14th of March, at the age of 76. Hawking was one of the world’s most renowned physicists and the first to advocate cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics. In 1974, Hawking discovered a phenomenon now named ‘Hawking radiation’ after he discovered that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing.
He has authored many famous books including A Brief History of Time which has sold more than 10 million copies. Hawking has defied people’s expectations from a young age. At just 21 he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and given two years to live. His disease left him in a wheelchair and the inability to speak without the help of a computer.
“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 forever”
Hawking’s fame is not just due to his remarkable work in the science and academic field but also due to many features in popular TV and culture. Hawking has starred in The Simpsons, Futurama, Red Dwarf, The Big Bang Theory and more. In Star Trek: The Next Generation he was the only guest in the entire Star Trek series to play himself.
Prof Hawking’s life has been the subject of much interest. As well as a series of books there was the 2004 BBC movie Hawking, which starred Benedict Cumberbatch and more recently the 2015 film The Theory of Everything, which won Eddie Redmayne an Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe for best leading male.
In a statement, Hawking’s children said: “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. 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. 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 forever.”
Since the news of his death, millions have paid their tributes to the scientist. Prof. Brian Cox called him “one of the greats”. British astronaut Tim Peake said Prof. Hawking, “inspired generations to look beyond our own blue planet and expand our understanding of the universe.”
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, praised Prof. Hawking’s “colossal mind and wonderful spirit.” Tributes have also come from Theresa May who said, “his courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world.” Jeremy Corbyn also paid tribute saying Hawking “inspired the world with his determination to explain the mysteries of the cosmos” and “showed breath-taking courage to overcome life’s adversities.”
Former US President Barak Obama tweeted a photo of them both with the caption, “Have fun out there among the stars.” Many celebrities have paid tribute including, Brian May, Nancy Sinatra, The Big Bang Theory cast, Brent Spiner and millions more who have been inspired by Hawking. As Hawking said, “One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”