Stephen Hawking Dies at 76

Jordan Barish, Staff Writer

Stephen Hawking, a world-renowned physicist, died at the age of 76 on March 14, 2018. Hawking was regarded as one of the greatest living scientists, known for his work in the fields of physics, cosmology, astronomy, and math as well as for his book, “A Brief History of Time.”

Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, UK. At the age of 17, he began attending University College at Oxford University and decided to study physics and cosmology. He graduated in 1962 and went on to earn a Ph.D. in cosmology from Trinity Hall at Cambridge University.

In 1963, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that causes nerves to break down to a point where the muscles cannot function. Hawking was given just a few years to live. He ended up living 53 years longer than expected. However, his disease left him confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak. Despite his physical handicaps, his mind was unaffected. As the years went on, Hawking became a leader in the exploration of black holes and gravity, heavily influencing modern physics. Throughout his life, his main goal was to find the connection between cosmology and quantum mechanics that would explain the beginning of the universe. In his own words, “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”

Stephen Hawking was an inspiration both to scientists and those with physical disabilities as he lived his life to the fullest and didn’t let his disease hinder his work.

“People need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit.” –Stephen Hawking