Home World Tech Stephen Hawking, renowned scientist, dies at 76

Stephen Hawking, renowned scientist, dies at 76

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Stephen Hawking, the brilliant British theoretical physicist who overcame a debilitating disease to publish wildly popular books probing the mysteries of the universe, has died, according to a family spokesman. He died peacefully at his home in the British university city of Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday. He was 76.

Considered by many to be the world’s greatest living scientist, Hawking was also a cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician and author of numerous books including the landmark “A Brief History of Time,” which has sold more than 10 million copies.
With fellow physicist Roger Penrose, Hawking merged Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum theory to suggest that space and time would begin with the Big Bang and end in black holes. Hawking also discovered that black holes are not completely black but emit radiation and will likely eventually evaporate and disappear.
Hawking suffered from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a neurodegenerative disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which is usually fatal within a few years. He was diagnosed in 1963, when he was 21, and doctors initially only gave him a few years to live.
The disease left Hawking wheelchair-bound and paralyzed. He was able to move only a few fingers on one hand and was completely dependent on others or on technology for virtually everything — bathing, dressing, eating, even speech.
Hawking used a speech synthesizer that allowed him to speak in a computerized voice with an American accent.
“I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many,” he wrote on his website.
“I have been lucky that my condition has progressed more slowly than is often the case. But it shows that one need not lose hope.”
At Cambridge, he held the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics — the prestigious post held from 1669 to 1702 by Sir Isaac Newton, widely considered one of the greatest scientists in modern history.
Yet Hawking once said if he had the chance to meet Newton or Marilyn Monroe, he would opt for the movie star.
Despite being a British citizen he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the US’s highest civilian honor, in 2009 by President Barack Obama.
In September 2016 Hawking joined 375 “concerned” scientists in penning an open letter criticizing then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, citing the threat of climate change and blasting his push for the US to leave the Paris Accord.
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