A Tribute to Stephen Hawking

In Oxford, England, on Jan. 8, 1942 - exactly 300 years after Galileo died - one of the greatest minds the world has even known was born.

Stephen Hawking attended University College, Oxford, in 1952 and wanted to study mathematics (despite his father’s wishes he pursue medicine.) However, with mathematics not being available, Hawking settled for physics, and the rest - as they say - is history.

In the fall of 1962, Hawking went to the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, at the University of Cambridge, in order to research cosmology - there was no one doing so at Oxford at the time.

Hawking moved around departments in the school before landing back in DAMTP in 1973 before publishing his first academic book, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, with George Ellis.

Hawking became a Reader in Gravitational Physics at DAMTP in 1975, reaching the level of professor by ’77. He help the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics from 1979-09.

What, perhaps, makes a lot of Hawking’s achievements more amazing is that in 1963, at the age of 21, he was diagnosed with a form of Motor Neurone Disease, ALS. Despite this leaving him wheelchair-bound, Hawking continued to hold a vivid personal life (married with three children, and three grandchildren) as well as continue to redefine theoretical physics with his research.

While Hawking had always hoped to make it into space once day, he did get to experience weightlessness in 2007 thanks to the Zero-G Corporation.

Passing away on March 14, 2018, at the age of 76, in Cambridge, Hawking left behind a legendary body of work that has helped shape the world around us, and continues to do so.

In 2006, Hawking posed the question: “In a world that is in chaos politically, socially, and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?” and shortly before his death, Hawking was working on a mathematical paper which sought out to prove the “multiverse” theory - the theory of many separate universes co-existing with our own.

The paper, A Smooth Exit From Eternal Inflation, is being reviewed by scientific journals. In it, Hawking predicts a future where our universe will fall into darkness as our stars run out of energy.