“Science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion,” said Stephen Hawking. A mind that took the theories of black holes and relativity to another level, and renovated science for anyone and everyone.
This beautiful mind was that of a British scientist, a professor and author, an epitome in the world of physics and cosmology. An entity that conquered its disorder and became an inspiration to many across the globe, Dr. Stephen Hawking.
Stephen Hawking, the eldest offspring of Frank and Isobel Hawking, both Oxford University graduates, was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England. His birthday was also the 300th anniversary of the death of Galileo.
His birth took place in the crucial economic and political climate of World War II and his family was seeking safety for the children, Stephen, Edward, Mary and Philippa.
Some of the close neighbours of the Hawking family described them as eccentric. They were all intent bibliophiles. The family owned an old London taxi, and their home in St. Albans was a three-story fixer-upper. They also had a penchant for bee farming and fireworks production at their greenhouse. Though Hawking’s father wanted him to get involved in medicine, he developed an interest in the sky and stars. His mother once said, “Stephen always had a strong sense of wonder, and I could see that the stars would draw him.” Hawking also went along with outdoor activities and loved to dance and row.
Stephen went to St. Albans School for his graduation. He loved playing board games and also created some board games of his own.
As a teenager, Hawking and some of his friends constructed a computer out of recycled parts to solve rudimentary mathematical equations. While he entered Oxford University to pursue mathematics, he ended up with physics and more specifically cosmology.
In 1962, he went to attend Trinity Hall at the University of Cambridge for a PhD in cosmology.
Hawking became a member of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge in 1968. After five years, he published his first, highly-technical book, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, along with co-author G.F.R. Ellis. In 1979, Hawking went back to University of Cambridge, and got the renowned post of the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.
On a new year eve, Stephen met a young language undergraduate named Jane Wilde. They got married in 1965 and had three children, Robert, Lucy and Timothy.
In 1990, Hawking left his wife for one of his nurses, Elaine Mason. In 2003 there was some misunderstanding about Hawking being abused by his wife and they got divorced in 2005.
Hawking later reconciled with Jane and Jane and wrote five science-themed novels for his daughter, Lucy.
In 1974, Hawking reached the pinnacle of his fame. This was due to his innovation about the black holes denying them as information vacuums that scientists had previously assumed.
He demonstrated the fact that matter, in the form of radiation, can escape the gravitational force of a collapsed star. The fate of cosmologist Roger Penrose fascinated Stephen Hawkingabout the origin of the Universe. The pair worked on the field to own plenty of recognition and awards.
At 32, Hawking earned the prestigious Albert Einstein Award, among other honors. He became a member of the Royal Society. He also enhanced others’ education as a guest faculty at Caltech in Pasadena, California, and at Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge.
Hawking discussed the new theories on black holes and the vexing “information paradox”.
Hawking proposed the information of the physical state of the object stored in 2D form within an outer boundary known as the event horizon. And also that black holes were not the eternal prisons they were once thought.
He left the theory open to possibilities.
In March 2018, Hawking asked, “What was around before the Big Bang?”
He reached the conclusion by applying a Euclidean approach to quantum gravity, which replaces real time with imaginary time, the history of the universe becomes like a four-dimensional curved surface, with no boundary. He pictured the imaginary and real time to state that there was a complete vacuum before the Big bang theory.
In 2007, the 62-year-old Stephen Hawking was provided an opportunity by Kennedy Space Center in Florida. With that experience he was freed from his wheelchair to experience bursts of weightlessness over the Atlantic. He said, \“Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers. I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go into space. I therefore want to encourage public interest in space.”Not just a cosmologist or scientist, Hawking wrote or co-wrote a total of 15 books.
Some of these are:
A Brief History of Time: The short, informative book became an account of cosmology for the masses and offered an overview of space and time, the existence of God and the future.
The Universe in a Nutshell: It was an easy derivation of what he illustrated in A Brief History of Time
A Briefer History of Time: It cited the newest development of string theory. He was convinced that time travel is possible, and that humans may indeed colonize other planets in the future.
The Grand Design: Hawking talked about the idea that God could have created the universe
In 1965, his thesis about Properties of Expanding Universes broke the internet with more than 60,000 views in a day
At 21, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). The disease shut his nerves controlling the muscles. Hawking was given only two and a half years of life security.
Hawking became more studious and thorough about work and research.
He said, “Before my condition was diagnosed, I had been very bored with life, There had not seemed to be anything worth doing.”
In 1969, Hawking was forced into a wheelchair and his career was accompanied by an ever-worsening physical state. THe lost his speech in the year of 1985.
The resulting situation required 24-hour nursing care for the acclaimed physicist. This situation made a California computer programmer develop a speaking program that could be directed by head or eye movement. He further used a computer screen to synthesise his speech through a sensor at his cheek bone guided by his fingers. He was gravely ill in 2009 after his retirement but he later made a full recovery.
This amazing scientist made a guest appearance in many movies as well as television series. From The Simpsons, Star Trek: The Next Generation, to his own documentary A Brief History of Time, he nailed it all. The other appearances include The Big Bang Theory (2012), The Theory of Everything (2014), Genius (2016) and chat shows like scientists talking about the danger of artificial intelligence, AI (2014).
Also read : Inspiring quotes to remember theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking on the eve of his 79th birth anniversary
In 2015 he took the news to state resources to the discovery of extraterrestrial life through Breakthrough Listen. He also recorded a voice-over on the Pink Floyd song Keep Talking.
He submitted his final paper, A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation? 10 days before his death and that got published in a month after his demise.
On March 14, 2018, Hawking died at his home in Cambridge, England. Later, his ashes were interred at Westminster Abbey in London alongside scientific dignitaries Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.