Stephen Hawking: The man who made astro-physics understandable

Stephen Hawking: The man who made astro-physics understandable

His book, A Brief History Of Time, is one of the most popular science books of all time.

Millions of Chinese mourned Stephen Hawking on Wednesday (Mar 14), bidding farewell to a "giant star" admired in China for stoically rising above physical disability and posting heartfelt messages to his Chinese fans on social media.

He went on to become a researcher at the University of Cambridge and Professorial Fellow at the Gonville and Caius College.

The illness gradually robbed him of mobility, leaving him confined to a wheelchair, nearly completely paralysed and unable to speak except through his trademark voice synthesiser.

"But now, 50 years later, I can be quietly satisfied with my life".

But the disease progressed more slowly than expected.

Hawking, it has to be said, denied these allegations - albeit fairly unconvincingly. Hawking said his thinking had been influenced by significant advancements in physics that had followed publication of "A Brief History of Time". His great discoveries and work include Hawking radiation, Penrose-Hawking theorems, and many more. He was renowned for his extraordinary capacity to visualise scientific solutions without calculation or experiment. "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". "Where is it going and will it have an end?"

Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power underlined Hawking's kind heart in addition to his brilliant mind.

The rock group Pink Floyd used his distinctive synthesised voice for the introduction to Keep Talking, on their 1994 album The Division Bell.


He was a Lucasian Professor at the university from 1979 to 2009, a position previously held by Isaac Newton in 1663.

The combination of his best-selling book and his nearly total disability - for a while he could use a few fingers, later he could only tighten the muscles on his face - made him one of science's most recognizable faces.

By 2000, Hawking was a frequent visitor to the emergency department of Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, seeking treatment for a variety of injuries.

In the book he related how he was first diagnosed: "I felt it was very unfair - why should this happen to me", he wrote.

"I believe that life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers". His research tackled the biggest of big questions - the nature of time, space and the universe we live in. "I therefore want to encourage public interest in space".

FILE PHOTO: Stephen Hawking arrives at the United Kingdom premiere of the film "The Theory of Everything" which is based around his life, at a cinema in central London, Britain, December 9, 2014.

It was even rumoured that one of the politically outspoken scientist's great regrets was that he never got a chance to run over the toes of Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Although the disease would take the majority of his motor and vocal functions, he would still go on to live a long life driven by science and family. "But it shows that one need not lose hope".

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