Goodbye Professor Hawking, You inspired and taught us all
Goodbye Professor Hawking, You inspired and taught us allSuhas Yellapantula, Donita Jose, Jayakrishnan | TNN | Mar 15, 2018, 00:05 ISTHis passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But itâs not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure,â tweeted American astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson mourning the death of renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking who passed away in the early hours of Wednesday. Tysonâs sentiments were echoed by hordes of scientists, celebrities and laymen across the world as social media was flooded with poignant tributes all day. Author, researcher, the oretical physicist, cosmologist and a legend in his own right â" Stephen Hawking was one of the finest minds in the world. While his contribution to the understanding of physics and geometry of the universe are unparalleled, Stephen was an inspirational figure who became a symbol of human perseverance overcoming the insurmountable odds life dished out to him. Despite being diagnosed with a debilitating form of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis at the age of 21, he roamed freely in his wheelchair and unraveled the secrets of the universe.
Early life and battling a rare disease
Hawking was born in Oxford on January 8, 1942. His parents had moved to London to escape the German bombing in the World War II. Having grown up in London, Hawking gained a first-class degree in Physics from Oxford, and went on to do his postgraduate research in Cosmology from Cambridge University. It was while he was studying at Cambridge that he was diagnosed with a form of motor neu rone disease, which left him completely paralysed. In 1964, around the time when he was going to marry his wife Jane, doctors gave him no more than two to three years to live. Hawking was just 22-year-old at the time.
Fortunately, the disease progressed more slowly than expected, but the illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak, except through a voice synthesiser. And yet, he carried on relentlessly. While speaking through a voice synthesiser, he had completed his book âA Brief History of Timeâ â" a layman's guide to Cosmology. The book sold more than 10 million copies.
Becoming a celebrity
While he was already an inspiration for millions of disabled people across the globe, Hawking continued to produce groundbreaking work. He discovered the phenomenon which became known as the Hawking Radiation, where black holes leak energy and fade to nothing. However, it was his âTheory of everythingâ â" that suggested that the u niverse evolves according to well-defined laws which catapulted him into superstardom in the world of
Mind over Matter! Overcoming a debilitating disability
Undeterred by his physical condition, Hawking carried on his work as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University. In 2001, his second book â" Universe in a Nutshell â" was published. In 2007, Hawking became the first Quadriplegic to board the âVomit Cometâ, a modified plane designed specially to simulate zero gravity.
Hawking, on several occasions, wrote in his memoir in 2013, about the hope life provided him when he thought all was lost. âI felt it was very unfair â" why should this happen to me. At the time, I thought my life was over and that I would never realise the potential I felt I had. But now, 50 years later, I can be quietly satisfied with my life. It shows that one need not lose hope,â he wrote.
As Candadian Space Explorer Chris Hadfield ap tly summed it up, âGenius is so fine and rare. Goodbye Professor Hawking. You inspired and taught us all.â
A rare genius who pushed the frontiers of science: Hyderabad Scientists
He took complex science to the masses
Stephen Hawkingâs body of work is so enormous that it is hard to sum up in a few words. But his greatest contribution to the world is how he took complex science to the masses with his books. In fact, till last year he was contributing academic papers which speak highly of his dedication. He is an inspiration who will motivate generations to come.
â" Siva Kumar, Professor, University of Hyderabad
Stephen hawking revolutionised physics
It's a great loss as he gave a direction to the entire fundamental physics community as a whole with his revolutionary works in 1970âs onward. His most prominent work is of course the Hawkingsâ Information Paradox, where he showed how our unde rstanding of general relativity and quantum mechanics was insufficient and cannot be reconciled as they stand. He applied the theory of quantum mechanics to black holes and said that these holes were not fully black and could emit radiation as well, just like a black body. This phenomenon is what we call today as Hawking radiation, and it opened up a whole new set of questions that physicists are still in the process of answering convincingly. To think of him doing all these when
he couldn't even physically write expressions or formulae, its
â" Shubho Roy, Assistant Professor, IIT Hyderabad
He was the most popular scientist the world has known after Einstein
Stephen Hawking worked in a very abstract field of Physics, his greatest impact was bringing such obscure ideas like Big Bang and Black Hole to the coffee table discussions in public. He wrote many scientific books which became unprecedented bestsellers explaining the concepts of Theoretical Physics. I was personally motivated to take up Physics only after reading his book, A Brief History of Time.
He was definitely the most popular scientist after Einstein.
â" Dr Rahul Nigam, Assitant Professor, BITS Pilani
He was an epitome of courage
Stephen Hawkingâs death has left behind an irreplaceable void. His work, primarily on critical physics, critical cosmology and critical astrophysics was path-breaking and pushed the frontiers of science. Despite being severely challenged, he strived hard to overcome the challenge. Very few people possess such courage, as showed by Hawking, which is inspiring.
â" Professor Prajit K. Basu, University of Hyderabad
He was my inspiration!
Itâs a unique coincidence to note that Stephen Hawking passed away on Albert Einsteinâs birthday. There must be some cosmic connection between the two greats of science, as Hawking furthered Einsteinâs general theory of relativity. Itâs because of his work that we could imagine that something could escape a black hole, what we call as hawking radiation. On a personal note, I was always inspired by his work and words.
â" Naslim Neelamkodan, Assistant Professor , University of Hyderabad
Humanity has lost a beautiful mind
He did not confine his contributions to research journals in science, but also enlightened the public with important concepts in cosmology like space, time, black holes etc., through his popular books. Humanity has lost a genius and a great mind with the death of Stephen Hawking.
â" K Babu Rao, Environmentalist
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