Professor Stephen Hawking, a renowned British physicist, has died at the age of 76, fifty three more years than his doctors predicted he would live after he was diagnosed with a rare early-onset slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease.
Stephen Hawking passed away peacefully at his home in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Announcing his death, which happened in the early hours of Wednesday, 14 March, 2018, his family eulogised him as “a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.”
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today,” reads the statement that was delivered by Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert and Tim. “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.”
Professor Stephen Hawking was known for his work with black holes and relativity – he discovered that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing – a phenomenon that would later become known as Hawking radiation. He also wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time. Hawking was also quite celebrated outside the academic world and made cameo appearances in several TV shows including; The Big Bang Theory and The Simpsons.
Stephen Hawking’s Milestones
8 January 1942 – He was born in Oxford, United Kingdom. First born to Frank Hawking and Isobel Hawking.
1959 – Receives scholarship at Oxford University, from which he graduates with a degree in Natural Science before proceeding to persue a PhD in cosmology at Cambridge University in 1962.
1963 – Diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disorder ALS. He is given two years to live.
1974 – Outlined his theory that black holes emit “Hawking radiation”. This is the same year that he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society at age 32, one of the youngest people to receive the honor.
1979 – Hawking becomes Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, a position once held by Isaac Newton.
1986 – Hawking begins communicating through the electronic voice synthesizer that gave him his trademark robotic “voice” after he lost his speech the previous year follwoing a pneumonia attack.
1988 – Publishes “A Brief History of Time,” a book on cosmology aimed at the general public that becomes an instant best-seller, selling more than 10 million copies.
2014 – Hawking’s life is celebrated in the Oscar-winning film “The Theory of Everything”.