One of the biggest names in physics and cosmology history has passed away today at age 76. His theories on black hole physics, quantum physics and other mathematical and astrological aspects have inspired many to explore the cosmos and learn something more about an otherwise unpopular subject.
Although he was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21 and was shortly after unable to even hold a pen, it didn’t stop him from becoming one of the leading astrophysicists. He communicated with the help of a computer voice, a voice that will be celebrated and glorified for years to come.
Following is a brief timeline of his life and his great, if not superhuman achievements:
Jan. 8, 1942: Stephen Hawking is born in Oxford, England, with parents Frank Hawking and IsobelHawking who worked in the field of medicine as a biologist an a medical research secretary. He is the eldest of the family’s four children.
1952 – He started attending St. Albans School in Hertfordshire, South England.
1959: Stephen Hawkings received a scholarship to attend University College, Oxford. He later graduated from this school with a first class honors degree in Natural Science. Since he excelled in this area, college didn’t take much effort to finish and he didn’t study much. At the end of his 4th year of college, he starts feeling a bit clumsy.
1962: He starts his research in cosmology and general relativity at the University of Cambridge.
1963: He is diagnosed with a degenerative nerve disorder ALS at the young age of 21 years. The disease gravely affects the body movement and speech and doctors gave him two years of life.
1965: Stephen marries Jane Wilde, a modern languages student he previously met at Cambridge.
1967: His first son Robert is born.
1969: ALS starts affecting his body and he has to start walking with the help of crutches before being forced to use a wheelchair.
1970: His daughter Lucy is born and he makes one of the most important scientific discoveries during his research: that by using quantum theory and general relativity he is able to prove that black holes can emit radiation.
1974: He becomes a member of the prestigious Royal Society. At the age of 32, he is one of the youngest members to ever receive this honor.
1973: Published his first book “The Large Structure of Space-Time” and joined the department of applied mathematics and theoretical physics at Cambridge University. During this time, he discovered that black holes could actually leak energy and particles into space, and explode in a fountain of high-energy sparks.
1979: Hist third child Timothy is born and Stephen becomes a Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, a prestigious position held only by 14 people in the history o Cambridge, one of which is Isaac Newton himself. He keeps this position until 2009.
1985: During a visit in Geneva, he is admitted to hospital with pneumonia and loses what remained of his speech.Later that year he begins to communicate through the electronic voice synthesizer that gave him his recognizable robotic “voice.”
1988: His most famous book – A Brief History of Time is published and becomes an instant bestseller.The book is aimed at the general public simplifying the otherwise complex theories Hawkings works with.
1989: He was awarded the title of a Companion of Honor by The Queen Elizabeth II.
1995: He divorced Jane and later married his nurse, Elaine Mason.
2001: Publishes his book “The Universe in a Nutshell” in which he explains his most recent discoveries and breakthroughs in the area of astrophysics.
2004: At the international conference on general relativity and gravitation in Dubai, he announces that he solved the Black Hole paradox, a matter that has been a troubling question for the scientist for decades.
2007: Divorced his second wife – Elaine Mason, experienced a zero-gravity flight and published a children’s sci-fi book with his daughter called “George’s Secret Key to the Universe”.
2009: His health deteriorates and he is no longer able to move the wheelchair by himself. He becomes a Director of Research at The Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge and receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
2013: He publishes a memoir “My Brief History”
2014: The movie ‘The Theory of Everything” that portraits his and Jade’s life is released.
2015: “The Theory of Everything” receives an Oscar for best actor and multiple Oscars nominations.
2018: Dies on March 14, 2018, at the age of 76.
Many celebrities and institutions have paid their tribute to Stephen Hawkings. It will be a much sadder universe without his brilliant mind and humoristic personality. I will end this with one of his most famous sayings:
“It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.”