One of the greatest physicists of all time, Stephen Hawking, died this week at the age of seventy-six. His investigation of the universe and explanation of where the universe came from earned him much respect, but he was also an inspiration to many people. Why? Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) when he was twenty-one and was told he had a mere two years to live. But the disease progressed rather slowly, and he lived for decades beyond the prediction with the help of a wheelchair, therapy, and speech synthesizers (so that people could understand him talk).
His book, A Brief History of Time, is a top-selling science book. Hawking’s contributions to the field of cosmology (the science and origin of the universe) remain among the most significant to date. His friends know about his wicked sense of humor and his unrelenting ability to argue. His family stated, “He once said that ‘it would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love’” and that they would deeply miss him.
Thanks for sharing your brilliance with all of us, Mr. Hawking. You will be missed.