The smartest man on Earth and the brightest star in the cosmos is now at peace. Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking passed away at his home in Cambridge, England on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 leaving behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.
Hawking graduated from Oxford University, in the town he was born and raised, and later earned a degree from Cambridge University as well, taking the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics position there in 1979, a position once held by Sir Isaac Newton.
He leaves behind three children, Robert, Lucy and Timothy, children from his first marriage to Jane Hawking. His children released a statement of their father’s passing, saying:
“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.”
His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it's not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018. pic.twitter.com/nAanMySqkt
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 14, 2018
At the age of 21, Hawking was diagnosed with ALS, a motor neuron disease. The debilitating illness gradually paralyzed his body, ultimately confining him to a wheelchair and robbing him of his voice, but his mind was always sharp and mobile. He continued to be a massively prominent and popular public figure in theoretical physics and continued to lecture and speak on the matter through the use of his computer-aided speech system, which was operated by a single cheek muscle.
A sad day for all at Virgin Galactic. Professor Stephen Hawking was part of our family from day one. His support for opening space, his enthusiasm to fly, humbled and inspired. RIP Professor and thank you for all you have given us. https://t.co/ps9pBAHjeG
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) March 14, 2018
Hawking was a brilliant scientist, penning the best-selling book A Brief History of Time in 1988. The book introduced key cosmological concepts to a non-specialist audience, selling more than 10 million copies in the process.
His predictions on black holes, namely that they emit blackbody radiation which is called Hawking radiation, made him both a highly-respected theoretical physicist and a pop icon.
Hawking was popular for his dry and direct wit and for his observations that seemed at times mundane and marvelous at the same time. In 1989, Hawking said, “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.”
For More Of Hawking’s Brilliance Can Be Seen Below:
Hawking once said: “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.” We hope he accomplished his goal.