“Each one of us exists for only a very short time, and that range only explores a tiny piece of the whole universe”. With these words the British scientist Stephen Hawking, who died this Tuesday at 76 years, begins one of his masterpieces: The great design.
“We are deeply saddened because our dear father died today,” stated the children of professor Hawking, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said in a statement published by the British Press Association, a few hours ago. “It was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will endure for many years”.
For centuries scientists and philosophers have tried to unravel the questions of the universe. Stephen Hawking was one of them and of the brightest minds that energy and time devoted to the topic. Their approaches what became one of the most important scientists of the 21st century.
Hawking defied the predictions of the doctors, that only live a few years after he was diagnosed with an atypical form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that attacks the motor neurons responsible for controlling voluntary movements and that left him in a wheelchair.
“His courage and persistence with their brilliance and humor inspired people from all over the world,” said the family. “Will miss you always.”
The British physicist Stephen Hawking was the world’s most popular scientist from Albert Einstein, a genius who revealed secrets of the universe and fought against a terrible disease. Hawking enjoyed a rock star status, and his life was the subject of a movie, The Theory of Everything, which earned him an Oscar for actor who embodied, Eddie Redmayne.
Born in the university town of Oxford, near London, on 8 January 1942, on the 300th anniversary of Galileo, Stephen William Hawking has always believed that science was his But.but fate was cruel. To the 21 years he was diagnosed with an atypical form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that attacks the motor neurons responsible for controlling voluntary movements.
Against all odds, Hawking exceeded the predictions that were between two and three years of life, although he suffered the devastating effects that gradually left him paralyzed and allowed him to communicate only through a computer that interpreted their facial gestures.
A ‘normal life’
“I Tried to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my illness or regret the things that prevent me to do, that there are so many,” wrote once the scientist, who used a wheelchair “smart”.
Hawking, however, was far from normal. In the inside of his deteriorating body had a brilliant mind, fascinated by the nature of the universe, how it was formed and how it could finish.
“My goal is simple,” said on one occasion. “It is to fully understand the universe, for that is the way it is and why it exists”.
Many of his works focused on uniting the relativity (the nature of space and time) and quantum theory (the physics of the smallest) to explain the creation and operation of the cosmos.
in 1974, he became one of the youngest members of the Royal Society, the most prestigious scientific society of the United Kingdom, with only 32 years.
Holder of the chair of Newton
In 1979, he was appointed head of the prestigious Lucasian Professor of the University of Cambridge, which came from the University of Oxford to study theoretical astronomy and cosmology.
The Chair, to which he had to resign upon reaching the age limit of 67 years, was occupied three centuries before by the ‘father’ of the gravity Isaac Newton.
Hawking put to the test the theories of Newton in 2007, when at the age of 65 years of age made a zero gravity flight in the United States, in what she hoped was only a first step before the suborbital flight in space, which is expected to perform.
“I think that the human race has no future if you are not going to space”, insisted in the last years of his life.
“I think that life on Earth is facing an increasing risk of being destroyed by a disaster, such as a sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other hazards,” he said.
when he took part in the flight, Hawking was famous and known as a communicator ingenious and dedicated to making science accessible to as wide a public as possible.
His 1988 book History of the time sought to explain to the non-scientific fundamental theories of the universe and became a bestseller with millions of copies sold throughout the world.
It was followed in 2001 by The Universe in a Nutshell, and also starred in numerous documentaries and even made guest appearances in popular TV series such as Star Trek and The Simpsons.
In 2007, Hawking published a book for children, The George’s secret key to the universe, with his daughter, Lucy, in which he tried to explain the solar system, asteroids, their dear black holes and other celestial bodies.
Received countless awards and honorary titles, and was awarded commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
The astrophysicist continued working and researching until the end, without losing his curiosity and his humility in the face of countless mysteries of science. “It seems to me that I just lost $100,” admitted in 2012 after the announcement of the discovery of the Higgs boson, the elusive particle postulated by Peter Higgs and considered as the holy grail of cosmology.
The only enigma which, according to him, never managed to unravel, were “women”. “A total mystery,” said once a New Scientist magazine.
Hawking married in 1965 with Jane Wilde, with whom he had three children. The couple split up after 25 years and married his nurse, Elaine Mason, much younger, who was also divorced in 2006 amid rumours of abuse.