Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking Dies at 76
London (Reuters): Stephen Hawking, who sought to explain the origins of the universe, the mysteries of black holes and the nature of time itself, died on Wednesday aged 76.
Ravaged by the wasting motor neurone disease he developed at 21, Hawking was confined to a wheelchair for most of his life.
Hawking died peacefully at his home in the British university city of Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday.
He had a knack for making his pioneering research accessible to the wider public, and his brilliance deepened our understanding of the universe and our place within it.
Throughout his illustrious career, he was known for his quick wit and humor, often demonstrated at conferences and in interviews with the press. He also offered insights on a whole range of subjects
On being diagnosed with ALS he told New York Times in 2004 “My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus,”. After being asked how he kept his spirits up. “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”
It was more than 50 years after he was, at the age of 22, given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease. The illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.
Against all odds, Professor Hawking celebrated his 70th birthday as one of the most brilliant and famous scientists of the modern age.
He became one of the world’s most acclaimed cosmologists, a medical miracle, and probably the galaxy’s most unlikely superstar celebrity. He wrote a plethora of scientific papers that earned him comparisons with Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton.
He was best known for his work on black holes, the mysterious infinitely dense regions of compressed matter where the normal laws of physics break down, which dominated the whole of his academic life.