Stephen Hawking

Genius of our time unlocked secrets of the universe

With his revolutionary theories and monumental will to achieve despite adversities, Stephen Hawking shall prove to be an immortal in modern history

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 March, 2018, 4:07am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 March, 2018, 4:07am

A brilliant star in cosmology has fallen. The life of Stephen Hawking, the most popular scientist of our times, shone bright before finally burning out. The quadriplegic genius may have been confined to a wheelchair for most of his life, but he inspired films, television series and pop songs for generations. His legacy on mankind’s quest for the origin of the world is as big as the universe.

What set the accomplished British physicist apart from his peers is perhaps his ability to turn adversity into success.

It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love
Stephen Hawking

At the age of 22, the Cambridge University doctoral student was diagnosed with a rare form of neurone disease and was given just a few years to live.

While he became paralysed and only spoke through a voice synthesiser, he defied medical assessment and lived until yesterday, when he died at his home in Cambridge, aged 76.

His theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics is pioneering, and his discovery that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing is groundbreaking.

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His analyses of time and black holes may not be readily comprehensible to many people. His bestseller, A Brief History of Time, sold 10 million copies in 40 languages, but is often referred to as “one of the most unread books of all time” because of its hard-to-grasp concepts. He nonetheless attracted wide attention with his remarks, many of which were highly contentious. He did not rule out the existence of aliens, and warned of the need to abandon Earth within 600 years before it became inhabitable.

Hawking was just as big in this part of the world. He visited Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and went to the mainland three times. With some 4.3 million followers on his Chinese social media account, he was one of the most popular foreign scientists in China. Convinced that artificial intelligence would surpass that of humans one day, he openly challenged people to ponder the implications of the nation’s fast-growing AI industry.

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The scientist may have spent his lifetime unlocking the secrets of the universe, but he said “it would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love”. With his revolutionary theories and monumental will to achieve despite adversities, he shall prove to be an immortal in modern history.