Theoretical Physicist Stephen Hawking
Dies at 76
March 14, 2018
World-renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking, who sought to
understand a range of cosmic topics from the beginning of the universe
to the intricacies of black holes, died Wednesday at the age of 76.
A family spokesman said he died peacefully at his home in the city of
Cambridge where he worked for decades as the Lucasian Professorship of
Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.
"He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy
will live on for many years," Hawking's children, Lucy, Robert and Tim,
said in a statement.
He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at the age of 21, a
disease that eventually confined him to a wheelchair and took away this
ability to speak, leaving Hawking to communicate through a voice
Doctors predicted he would only live a few years, but he instead
thrived, focusing on his work that included seeking to bridge the gap
between Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity that describes
the motion of large objects and the Theory of Quantum Mechanics dealing
with subatomic particles.
"My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why
it is as it is and why it exists at all," Hawking said.
His 1988 book "A Brief History of Time" became an international
bestseller and brought him widespread fame.
One of his most famous accomplishments came in his research on black
holes, showing that small amounts of radiation could escape their
gravitational pull. The phenomenon is now commonly known as Hawking
sign of his popularity came in October when Cambridge put Hawking's 1966
thesis online for the first time, and demand for the document was so
high the university's website crashed.
Hawking was also a proponent of human space travel to the Moon and Mars,
an endeavor he said would help unite humanity in the shared purpose of
spreading beyond Earth.
Hawking said making the first moves into space would “elevate humanity”
because it would have to involve many countries.
"We are running out of space and the only places to go to are other
worlds. It is time to explore other solar systems. Spreading out may be
the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans
need to leave Earth," he said last year. "If humanity is to continue for
another million years, our future lies in boldly going where no one else
has gone before."