World’s most famous physicist leaves incredible legacy
After a long and fruitful career in field of physics, Stephen Hawking has passed away on 14 March, 2018, bringing much sadness to the scientific community and to the world. There likely isn’t too many in the world who haven’t heard of Dr. Hawking, and fewer still who could deny the man’s brilliance and his and genuine love for science and humanity.
Dr. Hawking was born on January 8th, 1942 in Oxford, United Kingdom. From a young age, he expressed an interest in higher scientific pursuits, and was encouraged by his parents to attend the University of Oxford, where he graduated with BA, and the University of Cambridge where he would obtain his PhD. He would also accumulate many additional academic aachievements over the course of his career. Hawking was an honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. In 2002, Hawking was ranked number 25 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009. He achieved commercial success with works of popular science, where he discussed his own theories and cosmology in general. His book, A Brief History of Time appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.
Dr. Hawking’s most famous work is his analysis and theorems surrounding black holes, which he argued give off a specific kind of radiation (appropriately dubbed Hawking radiation) that slowly, over billions and billions of years, decreases their mass. Although initially controversial, the discovery has now been accepted in field of astrophysics.
Dr. Hawking had an early-onset, slow-acting, form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that slowly paralyzed him over the course of his life. Perhaps his most iconic feature was the automated voice that translated the movement of a single active throat muscle into speech, enabling him to communicate. Despite his diagnosis, Dr. Hawking continued to work towards his goals and remain a giant in the field of physics.
Dr. Hawking was famous for his approach to discussions surrounding the future of humanity. In 2006, he posed a question on the Internet which inquired into where humanity would find itself in 100 years. He strongly believed that humans and planet Earth are incredibly vulnerable to issues such as global warming, nuclear war, genetically engineered viruses, and a plethora of other risks we haven’t even began to fathom yet. He actively encouraged collaboration, cooperation, and discussion between diverse groups of people in order to promote global and peaceful solutions to humanity’s problems.
Dr. Hawking had many appearances in the media over the course of his life, including an interviewed alongside Arthur C. Clarke and Carl Sagan in God, the Universe, and Everything Else. He also appeared in several TV series, including Star Trek (at the behest of Leonard Nimoy), the Simpsons, Futurama, and the Big Bang Theory. Truly a popular culture icon, Hawking was part of many of the most memorable moments in TV for the last twenty years.
Dr. Hawking passed away in his home in Cambridge earlier in March 2018, surrounded by his family. He was said to have passed peacefully. Dr. Hawking was eulogized all over the world, as countless individuals expressed their genuine admiration for Dr. Hawking, their sympathy for his family, and their sadness over his passing. He not only inspired a love of science for many people, but he also remained a voice of reason and progress in a sea of clamouring opinions.
Dr. Hawking has left our world behind, but hopefully humanity as a whole can heed to the wisdom of his words. In a world where humanity remains divided in so many ways, we need more people like Dr. Hawking to motivate and inspire us to create real and lasting change for the betterment of not only the present, but of the future as well.