In the early morning hours of Wednesday morning, news broke of the unfortunate death of renowned physicist and author, Stephen Hawking. Hawking, who died at age 76, rose to prominence not only because of his groundbreaking discoveries, but also due to his incredible story of overcoming challenges set against him against all odds. As media outlets delivered the news to the public, many took to social media and other platforms to post messages in remembrance of the inspiring scientist.
Among those who posted their respects to Hawking was former president Barack Obama, in which he issued a tweet with a picture of him and the famed physicist, with a caption stating “Have fun out there among the stars.”
Have fun out there among the stars. pic.twitter.com/S285MTwGtp
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 14, 2018
Stephen Hawking was inspirational and influential for a variety of reasons. To begin with, the Oxford-born physicist overcame what medical experts claimed to be the impossible, when he was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease in the final year of his university schooling. As the problems worsened over the following weeks and months, Hawking was diagnosed at the age of 21, with doctors giving him no longer than a two year life expectancy, at best. Despite the disease slowly paralyzing the physicist, the two year expectation was shattered, as Hawking went on to achieve monumental things in his field.
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
In regards to his groundbreaking discoveries as an astrophysicist, Hawking forever changed our understanding of the universe and the forces at play. He was able to identify new theories and concepts by combining various scientific fields to paint a better picture of the universe, mixing cosmology, quantum theory, information theory, and thermodynamics into singular studies to better connect the missing dots.
Stephen Hawking: Tributes pour in for 'inspirational' physicist https://t.co/IqfKYcAdHM
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 14, 2018
Hawking was also influential due to his work on understanding the specific properties of black holes in space. One example can be seen in his coining of the theory “Hawking radiation”, which refers to the conclusion that black holes inherently are not black in color, but simply emit heat particles or radiation, and do so until this fuel source is depleted.
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
Hawking also got to work attempting to prove Einstein’s theory of relativity, which claims that the origin of the universe started from a point of singularity. However, despite undertaking such an ambitious task, Hawking had yet to be able to prove this concept.
In more recent years, Hawking began to voice his opinions regarding President Trump and his rise to political prominence, criticizing him for his divisive rhetoric and the detrimental environmental policies which Trump aimed to propose. In one interview given in London, Hawking claimed that Trump is, “a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator.”
Thus, as the world mourns the loss of one of the greatest minds in recent history, and laments the potential discoveries forgone, Hawking’s legacy will undoubtedly live on to provide foundational insight for future astrophysicists.
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