Confirmed by a spokesperson for the Hawking family, award-winning physicist Stephen Hawking died early Wednesday morning, March 14, in Cambridge, England. Author to several books including the extremely popular “A Brief History of Time,” the family said Hawking “died peacefully” in his home after living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) since 1962. Hawking is survived by his wife Lucy, and his two sons, Robert and Tim.
Detailed within a statement, the family wrote “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world. He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever.”
Arguably one of the best-known figures in the scientific community, Hawking’s work as a theoretical physicist changed how many scientists viewed the universe. Combining the theory of relativity with quantum mechanics, Hawking theorized that there was a particle that radiated out of black holes; essentially altering how scientists viewed gravity. That particle was named Hawking radiation after the physicist.
While Hawking’s debilitating neurological disease forced him into immobility, it never restricted his brilliant work or hampered his spirit. Helping make science popular around the world, he appeared in multiple television shows including The Simpsons, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Futurama, and The Big Bang Theory. In addition, his life was adapted into a movie, The Theory of Everything. Eddie Redmayne went on to win the Best Actor award at the Academy Award for his portrayal of Hawking.
Interestingly, Hawking actually got a chance to experience weightlessness during 2007 when the Zero G Corporation offered to take Hawking up in one of the company’s planes. Speaking prior to the experience, Hawking said “I have been wheelchair-bound for almost four decades, and the chance to float in zero-G will be wonderful.”
Multiple public figures and organizations have expressed their sadness over Hawking’s death on social media:
His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it's not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018. pic.twitter.com/nAanMySqkt
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 14, 2018
The world has lost a beautiful mind and a brilliant scientist. RIP Stephen Hawking
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) March 14, 2018
RIP Stephen Hawking. Genuinely very sad to hear that. If you haven’t, read A Brief History of Time. It’ll make the world feel more amazing and beautiful and strange. It’ll also make you feel smart and stupid all at once.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) March 14, 2018
R.I.P. Stephen Hawking. Among his many profound contributions to this world was this simple sentiment: “It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.”
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) March 14, 2018
Remembering Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist and ambassador of science. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014 pic.twitter.com/FeR4fd2zZ5
— NASA (@NASA) March 14, 2018
— The Big Bang Theory (@bigbangtheory) March 14, 2018
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