A Star Is Gone

Stephen Hawking, well-known physicist and author of ‘A Brief History of Time – From the Big Bang to Black Holes’, published in 1988, passed away at the age of 76 on March 14, 2018. Although 76 years can be termed as brief stay on earth, Hawking with his debilitating condition of Motor Neurone Disease, gave the world amazing knowledge of our cosmos. Stephen Hawking became a leader in exploring gravity and the properties of black holes.

His book sold over 10 million copies and a documentary was made on him and a series of lectures on cosmos, gravity and properties of black holes made him as popular as Einstein. People flocked to his sold out lectures, his body and muscles wasted yet his intellect as sharp and observation of the space quite deep. He found that black holes are not black at all and that they would eventually fizzle, leaking radiation and particles, and finally explode and disappear over the eons.

He said, “I get up in the morning and go to my office and work with my colleagues and students at Cambridge University. I talk to scientists around the world by email. Obviously I need assistance with my disability but that has not stopped me from traveling the world from Antarctic to Zero Gravity. Perhaps one day I will go to space.”

His disability he said was not a serious handicap since he worked on theoretical physics and that his MND taught him not to pity himself.

Stephen Hawking married Jane Wilde, a fellow student at university and had three children but later separated and married one of the nurses Elaine Mason who cared for him. Life was always full of hurdles as in 1985 he got pneumonia which in his condition would have been lethal, a tracheotomy operation saved him but he lost his voice altogether. A computer was then installed in his wheel chair which was fed around 3,000 words that Hawking could choose to use by using a software program called ‘Equaliser’. He said he spoke better than before when he lost his voice and his pre prepared lectures were delivered with the use of a speech synthesizer.

In 2010 he said, “If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.”

In an interview, he commented, “Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation. What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”

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