Remembering Stephen Hawking

Rebecca Jacobs, Staff Writer

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Minds that changed scientific history: Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei and the most recent, Stephen Hawking. All were theoretical physicists that changed the way that we look at the universe. Hawking was more than just a theoretical physicist. He was a cosmologist, a mathematician and to some, a hero.

Hawking defied the world’s expectations when he became diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a tragic disease that spreads rapidly with no cure. In 1963 he was determined to only have two years left to live before the paralyzing disease completely engulfed his body. This didn’t stop him from achieving greatness. Hawking lived to be 76 and recently passed in March of 2018.

Throughout his lifetime, Hawking undoubtedly had many roadblocks. Despite having a debilitating disease, he also had caught an extreme case of pneumonia. Hawking had to undergo a tracheotomy which caused him to lose his ability to speak. At this point Hawking was unable to write or speak, which seems tragic, but through it all, he still had his cheek. His cheek you may ask? Yes, his cheek. He communicated through a computer that relied on his cheek muscles to move the cursor to type out words that were read off by his computer. From this computer, he was able to answer in interviews, hold a conversation, deliver lectures and write 12 books.

Hawking devoted his entire life to intellect and science. He wanted to be a part of making scientific history. After being asked, “What is your favorite equation?” Hawking replied, his own. This equation demonstrated how to calculate the entropy of black holes. This same equation is the same one that he asked to be on his tombstone.

Throughout his life, Hawking was able to contribute to the progression of the physics and mathematics behind black holes and singularities.

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