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By TWJ Special Correspondents


Stephen Hawking has died aged 76. He was one of the greatest scientists of the 21st century and had inspired and guided people all over the world in a manner that is not very common for scientists in our times. Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert and Tim announced the death.

They said,

“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 forever.”

The kind of inspiration Hawking exuded was indeed different from that which came from scientists or technologists. It was not the ‘nerd talk’ alone that attracted people to him. It was also his humour, his electronically generated baritone that became a symbol of resistance, and his words that awed people into a larger perspective, that of the universe, one that interested Hawking a lot.

Hawking, was a wheelchair-bound scientist who talks in a robot’s voice, was the result of motor neuron disease that he was diagnosed with at the age of 21. It was expected to kill the bright student in a couple of years. It turned out that the disease progressed slowly in Hawking and he lived more than fifty years since, seeming defiant to medical science itself.

This was probably because Hawking felt the need that would power all his thoughts and research, one that required him to have a ‘complete understanding of the universe.’ In a childlike fashion, the scientist embarked on a mission to understand why the universe ‘is as it is and why it exists at all.’

He achieved this goal, partially in 1970, when he and Roger Penrose located the Bing Bang in the timeline of the universe. One could say that his genius was established, upset and re-established through a series of contributions towards understanding the universe that involved mesmerizing (even to laypeople) theories on black holes and expanding universes. But it was ‘A Brief History of Time,’ Hawking’s book that took him to the pinnacle of fame.

Stephen Hawking became a widely used figure in pop culture, art and cinema even while he was alive. The film ‘The Theory of Everything’ starring Eddie Redmayne was one among them. He is survived by his three children.


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