3/14/2018 2:14:40 PM
|written By : Team India Se|
“I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first,” said Stephen Hawking. We can only wonder what he else had to say and accomplish now that he has died at the age of 70 – one of the world’s most beloved physicists and cosmologists whose passing caused his peer Lawrence Krauss to tweet, “A star just went out in the cosmos," tweeted Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist. "We have lost an amazing human being.”
His family released a statement in the early hours of March 14 confirming his death at his home in Cambridge. His children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement: “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.”
The Cambridge University scientist and author of the bestseller A Brief History of Time, which sold more than 10 copies, defied expectations. Born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford – the 300th anniversary of the death of the astronomer Galileo – he was only 21 when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Doctors gave him only two to three years to live. But he went on to live for more than another 50 years, contributing so much to science.
With fellow physicist Roger Penrose, Hawking merged Einstein's theory of relativity with quantum theory to suggest that space and time would begin with the Big Bang and end in black holes. But it was perhaps his "theory of everything" -- a hypothetical single, all-encompassing, coherent theoretical framework of physics that fully explains and links together all physical aspects of the universe -- that attracted most attention.
The Theory of Everything was also the name of the film which looked at his relationship with his wife, Jane Wilde, for which the actor Eddie Redmayne, playing Hawking, won the Oscar for best actor in 2014. Hawking was married twice. He married Jane Wilde in 1965 and had three children with her before they divorced in 1995. He married his caregiver, Ellen Mason, but they quietly divorced in 2006.
Completely paralysed, but carrying on with his work, Hawking was an inspiring figure. “The image of Stephen Hawking … in his motorised wheelchair, with head contorted slightly to one side and hands crossed over to work the controls, caught the public imagination, as a true symbol of the triumph of mind over matter,” said the Guardian.
He had a wicked sense of humour. “In his finals,” as an undergraduate at Oxford, “Hawking came borderline between a first and second class degree,” recalled the Guardian. “Convinced that he was seen as a difficult student, he told his viva examiners that if they gave him a first he would move to Cambridge to pursue his PhD. Award a second and he threatened to stay at Oxford. They opted for a first.”
At Cambridge, he held the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics -- the prestigious post held from 1669 to 1702 by Sir Isaac Newton. Yet he once said if he had the chance to meet Newton or Marilyn Monroe, he would opt for the movie star.
"I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many," he wrote on his website.
He used a speech synthesizer that allowed him to speak in a computerized voice with an American accent.
"I have been lucky that my condition has progressed more slowly than is often the case. But it shows that one need not lose hope."
"I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space," he told Becky Anderson in 2008.
"It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next 100 years, let alone next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let's hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load," he said.