It is with great sadness that we are reporting that Stephen Hawking, the famed theoretical physicist who defied a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to live virtually his entire adult life with the disease – in a wheelchair and paralyzed but making constant contributions to a world few could understand – has died at age 76, a family spokesman said.
FOX News reports that although Hawking may have been incapacitated physically, he managed to write books, including the best seller “A Brief History of Time,” teach physics and mathematics, deliver speeches and even float in zero gravity, all while working in the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity.
He was not modest about what he wanted to do. “My goal is simple,” he once said. “It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”
His scientific works included a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He was a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.
“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. I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go into space.”
Hawking was married and divorced twice. His first wife, Jane Wilde, was a fellow student at Cambridge to whom he was married for 28 years. He then married his nurse, Elaine Mason, whom he was with for 11 years before they separated.
NASA Tweeted- “Remembering Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist and ambassador of science. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014″
Remembering Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist and ambassador of science. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014 pic.twitter.com/FeR4fd2zZ5
— NASA (@NASA) March 14, 2018
Hawking developed an early interest in science and mathematics, and when he was old enough his father, a medical researcher, encouraged him to apply to Oxford.
While there, Hawking began his studies in physics, and developed an interest in thermodynamics, relativity, and quantum mechanics.
After graduating from Oxford, Hawking studied at Cambridge, where he was diagnosed with ALS. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS is a fatal, motor neuron disease that causes progressive muscle weakness and atrophy.
In order to communicate, Hawking used a computer system attached to his wheelchair. He used a switch to select words printed on a screen, and as he formed sentences they were sent to a speech synthesizer.
His accent was described as Scandinavian, American, or Scottish. Hawking began using the voice synthesizer in 1985, when he contracted pneumonia and had an emergency tracheotomy.
He is survived by three children from his first marriage, Robert, Timothy and Lucy.
Rest in peace.