Stephen Hawking, one of the universe’s most magnificent scientists since Albert Einstein, passed away on March 14, 2017, at age 76. Hawking made huge strides in the world of physics and shed light on the murky world of black holes or “celestial death traps” as he called them, along with time, and heated discussions over Artificial Intelligence. He made fundamental physics a little more understandable and accessible to a wide audience, inciting interest in non-science geeks, which is a difficult feat on its own.
The physicist received 12 honorary degrees and received the title of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University that was only granted 300 years previous to Sir Isaac Newton. In 2009, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the most prestigious civilian award to exist in the U.S.
Not only was he a famed physicist, but a pop culture icon as well – he narrated himself on TV shows like “Futurama”, “The Simpsons”, and “Star Trek”, as well as “The Big Bang Theory”.
Hawking was wheelchair-bound due to a motor neurone disease, but that didn’t stop him from making a number of impressive achievements. He was diagnosed in 1963 at age 21, and was given two years to live. But Hawking defied those boundaries and lived decades longer with a thriving career, proving that his disability was in no way something that held him back in life. If anything, living in the twilight of possible death helped him live his life more vibrantly and fully.
Though he was widely regarded as one of the top geniuses of our era, the scientist also has some controversial aspects of his life that were left out of his famous bio-pic, “The Theory Of Everything”, and which lean towards Hawking being labelled a misogynist.
The scientist was married twice and left his first wife of 25 years to marry one of his nurses, Elaine Mason. His first wife, Jane Wilde, alleged that the scientist’s ego grew as he became an icon with his popular work, “A Brief History Of Time.” With accolades, Hawking’s following grew, but his dedication to his family started to dwindle. His marriage with Mason ended due to strong speculations of infidelity. Neither of the women has commented on his death.
In the end, even those of us with the extraordinary accomplishments have our faults that we can learn from. Hawking made a powerful stamp in history and science with all of his ground-breaking work, and we can all take an inspiring lesson from him to be courageous, hardworking and persistent, along with trying to better ourselves as human beings every step along the way.