Professor Stephen Hawking (Image via REX/Shutterstock)
“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 for ever,” said Stephen Hawking’s children Lucy, Tim and Robert in a statement early this morning.
Stephen Hawking died peacefully in his home early Wednesday morning, 3/14.
Hawking had a slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig's disease. Originally only given 2 years to live, he broke that diagnosis and lived an additional 55 years. This did not stop him from living a rather rich and fulfilling life.
He hasn’t just inspired generations in all science communities. He appeared on many shows, like The Simpsons, Big Bang Theory, Star Trek the Next Generation and Red Dwarf. His synthesized voice was used in Pink Floyd’s song Keep Talking. He’s part of pop-culture. He did so much. He’s a big inspiration to me too.
Where it all started: Hawking’s Ph.D. thesis is available online to read on Apollo, Cambridge’s Open Access repository. “Properties of expanding universes” by Stephen Hawking (1966).
To get an overview of Hawking’s life, the film “The Theory of Everything” is a good place to start.
Some of Stephen Hawking’s discoveries:
- Singularity. Along with Roger Penrose, Hawking showed that if there was a Big Bang, it started from the smallest point.
- Hawking Radiation. Quantum effects near the edge of a black hole have matter/antimatter pairs coming in and out of existence. As the black hole absorbs the antimatter, it evaporates to the point of vanishing.
- Mini-black holes. At the beginning of the Big Bang, mini-black holes were formed and evaporated, potentially causing massive explosions releasing energy.
- Information Paradox. If a black hole evaporates, is light absorbed by the black hole ultimately destroyed? Initially, Hawking thought the “information” was lost but later said information must be conserved.
Hawking’s most famous book is a great read, A Brief History of Time (currently an Amazon best seller).
“It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination. It’s a crazy world out there. Be curious.” Stephen Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell ( 2001)
He leaves behind 3 children, 3 grandchildren and an unforgettable legacy.