Hawking a famed British scientist, was known for his work on relativity and black holes and was author to one of the most popular science books, titled “A Brief History of Time”, which sold over 10 million copies.
Born capricornian in Oxford, England in 1942, Stephen Hawking read natural science at Oxford University in 1959, before doing his PhD at Cambridge. In 1963, at the age of 21, he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease, and doctors then gave him merely 2 years to live.
However, his will to live and lead got him distinguishing honours through 55 years after the illness was diagnosed. His study of black holes got him to outline his theory that black holes leaked energy and fade to nothing – the phenomenon later came to be known as Hawking Radiation (1974).
In 1979, he became the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, a post once held by Sir Isaac Newton. He arrived as a much read author with his book “A Brief History of Time” in 1988, which sold over 10 million copies.
Professor Stephen Toole, the Vice Chancellor at the Univ of Cambridge, where Hawking had studied and worked said, “Hawking was a unique individual who would be remembered with warmth and affection. His exceptional contributions to scientific knowledge have left and indelible legacy. His character was an inspiration to millions.”
“We have lost a colossal mind and a wonderful spirit. Rest in Peace, Stephen Hawking” – Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web.
“Remembering Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist and ambassador of science. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014” – NASA
In the words of Prof Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, “Even mere survival would have a medical marvel, but of course he didn’t just survive; he became one of the most famous scientists in the world.”
“There are ohycists that in 1,000 years time they will still be talking about Hawking Radiation – they will be using his fundamental results on Black Holes.” – Prof Brian Cox, Professor of Physics at the Univ of Manchester
Apple co-founder Steve Woznaik said “Stephen Hawking’s integrity and scientific dedication placed him above pure brilliance“.
Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft, in his message said, “We lost a great one today. Stephen Hawking will be remembered for his incredible contributions to science – making complex theories and concepts more accessible to the masses. He’ll also be remembered for his spirit and unbounded pursuit to gain a complete understanding of the universe, despite the obstacles he faced.”
Stephen Hawking had refuesed knighthood in 1990, on the basis of his disapproval of allocation of science budget by the government.
In his 2013 memoir, Stephen Hawking had recalled how he felt when he was first diagnosed with the fatal disease… “I felt it was very unfair – why should this happen to me. At that time, I thought my life was over and that I would never realise the potential I felt I had. But now, 50 years later, I can be quietly satisfied with my life.”
Stephen Hawking was potrayed both in TV and films. His TV shows included “The Big Bang Theory and he was potrayed in “The Theory of Everything”, by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne.
He was the first to set out a theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics. Through his work with mathematicin Sir Roger Penrose he demonstrated that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity implies space and time would have beginning in the Big Bang and an end in Black holes.
Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said in a statement: “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.”
Stephen Hawking once said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence.
He told the BBC:”The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of AI.Source Courtesy: BBC News / The Guardian