Stephen Hawking: Science’s Greatest Mind

Stephen Hawking, one of science’s greatest minds has sadly passed away in the early hours of Wednesday 14th 2018 at the age of 76. Professor Hawking died peacefully at his Cambridge home according to a family statement – “It is with great sadness we announce the death of Professor Stephen Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA at the age of 76.” “His family have kindly requested that they be given the time and privacy to mourn his passing, but they would like to thank everyone who has been by Professor Hawking’s side — and supported him — throughout his life.”

Hawking was diagnosed at the age of 22 with a rare form of motor neurone disease and was given just a few years to live. While the disease eventually left him bound to a wheelchair and in 1985 a tracheotomy robbed him of his voice leaving him to painstakingly operate a computer-aided speech system with a single cheek muscle. However, that didn’t stop the great mind from going on to work within cosmology and shape modern cosmology as we know it today. Stephen Hawking was most famed for his work on black holes and relativity, he discovered a phenomenon that they leaked energy which was later known as Hawking radiation.

Hawking also wrote a popular book called A Brief History Of Time which sold over 10 million copies in 20 years. I have also read the book some years ago and it is a favourite of mine, if you haven’t read it and are interested in the ways of the universe I highly recommend the book. Hawking once estimated that he only worked 1,000 hours during his first three undergraduate years at Oxford University (that’s less than one hour a day!), unsurprisingly he was one of those people that were deemed ‘troublemakers’ as are many of the greatest minds. At his graduation, he came between a first and second-class degree so he told his assessors if they gave him a first he’d go on to Cambridge University to pursue his PhD. If they gave him a second he’d stay at Oxford University. They gave him the first.

It is a great loss for the science world – a man that defied all odds and shaped modern science who will go down in history. The loss to his children is great and they have released a statement saying “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.” They praised his “courage and persistence” and said 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.”

Goodbye and rest in peace Professor Stephen Hawking.

Stephen Hawking – The Facts

  • Born 8th January 1942 in Oxford, England
  • 1959 – Went to Oxford University to read natural science
  • Studied for his PhD at Cambridge
  • 1963 – Was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and given two years to live
  • 1974 – Outlined his theory that black holes emit “Hawking radiation”
  • 1979 – He became the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge –  once held by Sir Isaac Newton
  • 1988 – Published his book A Brief History of Time
  • In the late 1990s – Reportedly offered a knighthood, but later revealed he had turned it down over issues with the government’s funding for science

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