Physicist Stephen Hawking dies aged 76

Physicist Stephen Hawking dies aged 76

Physicist Stephen Hawking dies aged 76

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.

He passed away during the early hours of Wednesday at his home in Cambridge.

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. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world. "He once said, aIt would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him for ever", the statement added.

Considered by many to have been the world's greatest living scientist, Prof Hawking was also a cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician and author of numerous books including the bestseller A Brief History of Time.

The theoretical physicist suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

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The best-known theoretical physicist of his time, Professor Hawking wrote so lucidly of the mysteries of space, time and black holes that his book, A Brief History of Time, became an worldwide bestseller, making him one of science's biggest celebrities since Albert Einstein.

One of his most famous accomplishments came in his research on black holes, showing that small amounts of radiation could escape their gravitational pull.

For the rest of his life, the physicist used a wheelchair to move around and a speech synthesizer that allowed him to speak in a computerised voice with an American accent.

One of Hawking's former students at Cambridge, theoretical physicist Raphael Bousso, told Nature that his teacher was a brilliant physicist who also excelled at communicating science to the public. In an interview with New Scientist magazine, Hawking said there was still one puzzle left for him.

Hawking himself met Eddie Redmayne as part of the actor's preparation for taking on the role of the scientist.

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Stephen William Hawking was born in Oxford on 8 January 1942.

A previous holder of the prestigious post was the 17th-century British scientist Isaac Newton. He was also wonderfully amusing with a fantastic media savviness that propelled him into A-list celebrity stardom as few other scientists before.

He relished making cameo apparitions on television shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory.

"We lost a great one today".

"His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake", tweeted Neil deGrasse Tyson. "Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure".

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