Professor Stephen Hawking, physicist, dies

Professor Stephen HawkingWidely regarded as one of the 20th and 21st centuries’ finest minds in the fields of theoretical physics and cosmology, Professor Stephen Hawking dies at the age of 76, having suffered from ALS (better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) for over 50 years. He far outlived the few years he was expected to live when he was diagnosed in 1963. In that time, he co-authored a 1970 paper which referred back to Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity to lend great credibility to the then-new (and not widely accepted) theory of the universe’s origins in a “big bang”. Later that same year he began working on research that would eventually lead to the theory that black holes would emit a signature radiation, dubbed Hawking radiation, though those emissions had yet to be observed directly at the time of Hawking’s death. His best-selling 1988 book, “A Brief History Of Time”, propelled Hawking (and his remarkable survival story) into the public eye, though by this time he was wheelchair-bound and reliant on a speech synthesizer to communicate with others.