There’s some sad news to report in the world of physics — and actually, as a matter of fact, the world of everything. World renowned scientist Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76, his family confirmed on March 14th. He passed away at his home in Cambridge, with his children — Lucy, Robert and Tim, releasing a 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 for ever.”
It’s not a stretch to say that Hawking’s research has literally spanned the cosmos, having extensively studied black holes and relativity along with literally writing the book about the theory of time, A Brief History of Time.
Hawking was also diagnosed with ALS, a motor neurone disease, early on in his life, limiting his mobility and eventually confining him to a wheelchair. Over time, he lost his ability to speak and eventually turned to a computer program to communicate with the world. It’s impossible to not immediately recognize his computerized diction — along with his incredibly sharp wit and sense of humor. Hawking never let challenges, even his own, slow him down.
One time, he threw a party for time travelers. Really. He mailed out the invitations after the party, in hopes that future time travelers would get them, and travel back in time. Sadly, no one showed up to his party, but it’s things like this that make Hawking unlike anyone else.
His life was later adapted into a movie, The Theory of Everything, where Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar for his portrayal of Hawking. He liked the movie, writing on Facebook:
“Seeing the film has given me the opportunity to reflect on my life. Although I’m severely disabled, I have been successful in my scientific work. I travel widely and have been to Antarctica and Easter Island, down in a submarine and up on a zero gravity flight. One day I hope to go into space.”
Our love goes out to Hawking’s family during this difficult time.