Stephen Hawking: Gone, but not forgotten

Mia Cafaro, Sports Reporter

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On March 14, 2018, at the age of 76, world-renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died.

Hawking was a brilliant scientist, and his work was even more impressive due to the fact that he suffered from ALS. The disease caused paralysis and an inability to speak, leaving Hawking to rely on a small sensor activated by muscle movements in his cheek, allowing him to “type” characters and numbers on a keyboard.

In most cases, ALS is fatal after three years, but Hawking lived with it for fifty. He was diagnosed in 1963, at the tender age of 22. “I felt it was very unfair- why this should happen to me,” he wrote in a memoir.

Despite this setback, Hawking continued with his research, focusing his studies on black holes in particular. In fact, the energy a black hole radiates is today called “Hawking Radiation.”

In 1988, Hawking published “A Brief History of Time,” which has sold over ten million copies. The book begins by reviewing the theories of great thinkers, such as Newton and Einstein, and goes on to delve into the secrets of the cosmos and Hawking’s thoughts on them.

In addition to his scientific works, many who had the privilege of meeting Hawking reported that he had a great sense of humor. As he once said, “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”

Hawking also appeared on several popular TV shows in his lifetime, including The Simpsons, Red Dwarf, and The Big Bang Theory. He has been portrayed in both TV and film, by Benedict Cumberbatch, and more recently by Eddie Redmayne.

The Motor Neuron Disease association, which Hawking had been a patron of since 2008, reported that its site crashed after his death due to all the donations. Hawking is survived by his former wife Jane Hawking, and three children Robert, Lucy, and Timothy.

His discoveries, published works, and the amazing story of his resilience and perseverance will forever immortalize Hawking. He has inspired millions by his success even through a great number of difficulties brought on by his illness.

Rest in Peace, Stephen Hawking. 1942-2018.

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