A Tribute To Stephen Hawking

You can never talk about the world of science without recognising the great minds that shaped this field and brought about the advancements we have today. Some of the scientists who pioneered ground shaking discoveries and theories include the likes of Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton, whose legacies still live on. One modern scientist who has gained similar standing in the world of science is none other than the late Stephen Hawking.

Stephen was born on Jan. 8 1942 to Isobel and Frank Hawking. Notably, both parents were also intellectuals, having attended the University of Oxford. Stephen found his studies rather easy, including university education and this can be attributed to his impeccable intellectual capacity. However, in his early 20s, he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease which would see him confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. This diagnosis gave him a few years to live, at least according to his doctors, but he defied the odds and lived to the age of 76. This physical incapacitation did not slow his mental strength and from that chair, he made many astonishing contributions to the world. He was ranked as one of the smartest people to ever live and among the most influential when it comes to the world of modern science.

Yes, he was bound to a chair but his mind was as free as the wind. He made his most notable contributions in the field of cosmology in which he held a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. This led to him writing one of the bestselling books, ‘A Brief History of time’. In the book, he sought to explain space and time to the masses.

Another fascinating aspect of Hawking’s life was his use of assistive technology, most notably his wheelchair. His fading abilities due to ALS had led to the continuous upgrading of his wheelchair. This was enabled by Intel’s communication system installed on the chair’s computer. The computer was powered by the batteries stored in the wheelchair and the computer cursor was moved by his cheek. This was made possible by the use of an infrared camera set up in his glasses which detected cheek movement.

The life of Hawking was further showcased through a film produced in his honour. The Theory of Everything is the very film produced as an accolade to Stephen Hawking (portrayed by Eddie Redmayne). It looks at the life and relationship of the physicist and his wife Jane, as well as the events in his life culminating to his later contributions in the world of science. It premiered at the end of 2014 in the US and beginning of the succeeding year in the UK. The movie was extremely well received and it won many awards, including an Academy Award for the best actor.  Hawking was also a big fan of the Simpsons and he featured in 4 different episodes where he actually voiced himself, using his assistive technology. In a Tribute to Stephen Hawking they also honoured his memory in their most recent episode.

Some of his memorable quotes include:

‘Science is not only a discipline of reason but, also, one of romance and passion’,

‘Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it’

‘People won’t have time for you if you are always angry and complaining’

‘We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.’

Conclusively, Stephen Hawking has been a major source of inspiration for us all. Sadly, the world has lost a selfless genius but his works and legacy will echo through the halls of time for years to come.

Sincerely,  A2B Assessments

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