British scientist Stephen Hawking dies aged 76
Saturday, March 17, 2018
His children released the following statement: "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. 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."
Astronomer royal Lord Rees said of Hawking, "Stephen was far from being the archetypal unworldy or nerdish scientist. His personality remained amazingly unwarped by his frustrations[...] Few, if any, of Einstein’s successors have done more to deepen our insights into gravity, space and time."
Hawking studied at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and was in 1979 awarded a post once held by , the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. His scientific work focused on fundamental aspects of the universe and space, including black holes. The heat emitted from black holes is called after him. He was also known for placing bets with other researchers about who would disprove whose theories, as with one he lost to , over whether black holes can permanently remove information from the universe — Hawking conceded they probably cannot.
Hawking was diagnosed with, also called Lou Gherig's disease, as a young man and spent much of his life in a wheelchair. Doctors predicted he would not live to be 25. Since losing the use of his voice after a in 1985, Hawking communicated with a computer-aided speech system.
Hawking maintained a public image to an extent that drew criticism from some of his peers. He became widely known to the general public for his 1988 book,, and has made cameo appearances on many popular television shows, including , , and . He was also the subject of the 2014 biopic .
"Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world," fellow physicist Michio Kaku of the was quoted by the New York Times.
Despite many other honors, including the Barack Obama and being named a , Stephen Hawking was not awarded a Nobel Prize. He explained, "The Nobel is given only for theoretical work that has been confirmed by observation. It is very, very difficult to observe the things I have worked on.", , and , the from U.S. President
In a 1989 remark to, Hawking observed, "We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star[...] But we can understand the universe. That makes us something very special."
Hawking is survived by his three children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim, and three grandchildren.
- Dennis Overbye. "Stephen Hawking, Who Examined the Universe and Explained Black Holes, Dies at 76" — , March 14, 2018
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- Dan Vergano. "Stephen Hawking, legendary physicist, dies at 76, family says" — , March 14, 2018