And groundbreaking physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. For decades, Hawking enchanted scientists and science lovers alike by making groundbreaking discoveries about the origins of the universe and then translating these ideas for millions of non-scientists worldwide. His 1988 book, “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes,” has sold more than 10 million copies.
His career and life itself have been celebrated as a medical miracle. Born in Oxford, Britain, in 1942, he was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder known as Lou Gehrig’s disease at the age of 21. Doctors said he had only a few years to live. Instead, he went on to live for more than 50 years, traveling the world in his motorized wheelchair and communicating through a custom-made computerized voice synthesizer. His only complaint was that the synthesizer gave him an American accent. He also protested against U.S. wars, including the U.S. war in Vietnam and the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Scientists and non-scientists alike are mourning his death. Physics professor Michio Kaku of the City University of New York said, “Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world.” This is Stephen Hawking, speaking at the White House in 1998.
Stephen Hawking: “Yet if, as I hope, basic science becomes part of general awareness, what now appear as the paradoxes of quantum theory will seem as just common sense to our children’s children. However, to a large extent, we shall have to rely on mathematical beauty and consistency to find the ultimate theory of everything.”
That’s physicist, professor and best-selling author Stephen Hawking speaking in 1998 at the White House. He died on Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, England, at the age of 76.