After a lifetime of exploring the cosmos, legendary physicist Stephen Hawking passed away Wednesday morning, March 14th, at the age of 76. He was in his home in Cambridge, England. Besides his legendary career in science, Hawking led a full and loving home life. Here are five interesting facts about Hawking — that don’t directly relate to science:
Hawking was married twice.
Hawking met his first wife, Jane Wilde, while they were studying at Cambridge University. He once said that she gave him “something to live for,” according to the New York Times. They divorced in 1995, and he married a woman named Elaine Mason that same year. Elaine was a nurse, and they met while she cared for Hawking following a battle with pneumonia. The couple divorced in 2006. He and his first wife Jane remained close until the end of his life.
Hawking had three children with Jane.
Their son Robert Hawking was born in 1967, and he works as a software engineer in the United States, according to Newsweek. The couple’s second child, Lucy Hawking, was born in 1970. She is an author and a journalist, and she’s even written science-based children’s books, with her father. Their third child, Timothy Hawking, was born in 1979.
Hawking’s children released a statement confirming their father’s death:
Doctors diagnosed Stephen Hawking with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1963, and he was only given several years to live.
As the New York Times notes, Hawking was a graduate student when he received the diagnosis. The disease drastically affected his body, confining him to a wheelchair. In 1985, Hawking caught pneumonia and doctors had to install a breathing tube in his throat, permanently stripping him of the ability to speak. He later began using a computer program called Equalizer which allowed him to type his thoughts, proving that his mind was as brilliant as ever.
Hawking’s I.Q. remains a mystery.
In a 2004 interview with the New York Times, Hawking was asked what his I.Q. score was. “I have no idea,” he responded. “People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.” LOL.
The 2014 film The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne, was all about Stephen Hawking.
In addition to chronicling some of Hawking’s scientific achievements, the film tells the story of Hawking’s diagnosis, his love story with Jane, and the toll his condition took on their marriage.
We’re sending all our love to Hawking’s loved ones today.