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Online Opinions

The End of a Legend

Brilliant is one word I would use to describe Stephen Hawking. A man of strength and determination who not only contributed greatly to the field of science but the world as a whole. One cannot doubt Hawking’s impact and legacy, for he was indeed the Albert Einstein of our time. Stephen Hawking died early in the morning of March 14, 2018, at the age of 76. Stephen Hawking was not only a remarkable man but an inspirational one, a scientific revolutionary, and one I believe we can all find reason to admire.

Hawking, born in 1942, lived a relatively normal life, attending Oxford University to study physics and then going to Cambridge to study cosmology. However, in 1963, just before 21st birthday, Hawking was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as A.L.S. (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a disease that impacts the nervous system and causes loss of physical functions.

It looked like Hawking wasn’t going to gain his doctorate. Even worse, doctors told Hawking he had only two years left to live. However, did the man die?

Miraculously, hell to the no.

He lived more than five decades past his expiration date, shocking doctors as Hawking continued to live and do his work. Hawking stunningly defied the odds, gaining his Ph.D. and fathering three children with his wife before he would lose full mobility and his voice.

While the disease began to spread across his body and caused him to slowly lose mobility and his speech, which led him to sit in a wheelchair for the rest of his entire life and lose his voice in 1985, Hawking didn’t let his disease stop him from contributing to the world. As a cosmologist, Hawking dedicated his life to helping humanity understand the universe. Indeed, Hawking had many scientific achievements. For one, with fellow cosmologist Roger Penrose, the two men managed to demonstrate Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. With this, the knowledge of physics and the universe were expanded as Hawking began to discover new information about the cosmos. He also helped confirm the Big Bang theory, showing how and when the universe started, from a single singularity that started all of space and time, as well as propose the idea that one day or another the universe will end.

However, Hawking is most well-known for his groundbreaking work on black holes. Not only did he help connect two conflicting worlds of physics (quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity), Hawking gave us a better understanding of these mysterious anomalies in the universe by explaining that black holes emitted radiation, as well as explain how black holes are born and its physical characteristics. This made him a celebrity in the scientific community, bringing on years of awards, titles, and accolades, and eventually, he became a pop culture icon, even appearing on the “Simpsons,” “Star Trek,” “The Big Bang Theory,” and more.

At the age of 32, Hawking joined the Royal Society, the oldest scientific institution in the world, one of his many achievements. While binding together quantum mechanics and general relativity, Hawking also investigated quantum cosmology, cosmic inflation, helium production in anisotropic Big Bang universes, “large N” cosmology, the density matrix of the universe, the topology and structure of the universe, baby universes, Yang-Mills instantons and the S matrix, anti-de Sitter space, quantum entanglement and entropy, the nature of space and time and the arrow of time, spacetime foam, string theory, supergravity, Euclidean quantum gravity, the gravitational Hamiltonian, the Brans-Dicke and Hoyle-Narlikar theories of gravitation, gravitational radiation, holography, time symmetry and wormholes.

Hawking was also a popular and best-selling writer, writing many scientific books such as “A Brief History of Time” and “The Universe In A Nutshell”.

Not only did his spirit and determination led him to the top of the scientific community, Hawking never let his disability hold him down. He traveled the world, visiting every continent, even Antarctica, attended many scientific conferences and events, wrote books, was a father, rode a hot-air balloon on his 60th birthday, and even took a zero-gravity flight when he was 65. Hawking took his limits to the max, always pushing himself to do better. As he stated himself, “I want to show that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit.”

Stephen Hawking, in the end, was not just a cosmologist, astronomer, and physicist. He was a father, a husband, a philanthropist, an author, a cultural and scientific icon, and a man worth remembering. He had a disability, yes, but he proved that shouldn’t stop anyone. He is an inspiration for all peoples, as he defied the odds through sheer will and determination. He helped humanity progress, giving us a better picture of the universe and helped set the stage for future generations. Stephen Hawking was the Albert Einstein of our time. His death, while bringing an end to a man of legend, will never dampen the legacy of one of the greatest human beings in our recent history.

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”-Stephen William Hawking (1942-2018)



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