Universe Guide

R.I.P. Prof. Stephen Hawkings

Stephen Hawkings in the grounds of Cambridge University

Professor Stephen Hawkings was one of the greatest minds in astrophysics of the twentieth and then the twenty first century. The area he will be most remembered for is around black holes and the beginning of the universe.

Stephen was born 8th January 1942 in Oxford, one of three children born to Frank and Isobel Hawking. The date happened to be the 300th anniversary of Galileo's death, the inventor of the telescope. Incidentally, he died on the same day as Albert Einstein was born. The day is also known as PI day, dedicated to the number constant because when written in M.DD, it is 3.14 .

Stephen had two younger sisters and an adopted brother called Edward. Isobel had gone to Oxford for safety because it was the Second World War at the time. During his early years, he moved to St. Albans and would eventually return to Oxford as an undergraduate.

At Oxford, he would become involved in rowings and become a cox. After graduation, he moved to Cambridge University where he would stay for the rest of his academic career. Wiki

It was only after graduating with his whole life ahead of him that he would become struck down with Motor Neuron Disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for which the Great Ice Bucket challenge of 2015+ was raising money for. MND is a group of diseases of which ALS is just one. Wiki

Hawkings life has been the subject of two films, the first in 2004 starred Benedict Cumberbatch as the professor telling the story of how he become afflicted by the disease and how he worked with Sir Roger Penrose to come up with a theory about everything, merging the theories of the great (Relativity) and the small (Quantum) and tracing the universe back to The Big Bang. The term Big Bang came from Sir Fred Hoyle who was not impressed with the theory and called it the Big Bang as an insult but it stuck. The first film was a B.B.C. production.

The second film was The Theory of Everything and would star Eddie Redmayne as the professor. Eddie would later be awarded an Oscar for his portray of Stephen. Felicity Jones portrayed Jane Wilde, although she was nominated for the award, she was unsuccessful as the award went to Julianne Moore for her role in Still Alice.

At University, he met his future first wife, Jane Wilde who stuck with him when he was becoming ill. The two would later marry and have three children, Robert, Lucy and Timothy. The marriage would last for thirty years before it ended. Stephen would later marry Elaine Mason who was a nurse. The second marriage would last nearly a decade before it ended.

He never won the Nobel prize for science but had his theory on Hawkings Radiation been proven then he most surely would have won it. Hawkings Radiation is the theory that black holes, the remnants of a dead massive star leak radiation. Black Holes are centres of immence gravity that not even light is said to escape however Hawkings theorized radiation did. At the end of the universe in the extreme future, all that will be left are photons and black holes but eventually black holes will dissipate and they'll be absolutely nothing. He wrote the book 'A Brief History of Time' which was a best seller for months but its been said most people bought the book but never read it.

Stephen didn't take himself too seriously, he appeared as a hologram of himself at a poker table created by Lieutenant Commander Data in an episode of Star Trek. He also appeared as himself in an episode of The Big Bang Theory where Sheldon gets to meet his idol and messes up big time. He also appeared with Davd Walliams in a sketch for Comic Relief.

The closest he got to space was to be able to fly aboard the Vomit comet, the N.A.S.A. aircraft that gives its astronauts and budding astronauts the feeling of weightlessness. The tribute from E.S.A. shows Stephen Hawkings aboard the Vomit Comet.

Stephen Hawkings wasn't too fussed about meeting an alien. Stephen believed that aliens when they arrived would be aggressive and try to conquer the planet. The aliens would have the objects as the creatures from Independence Day or V. The former wanted to wipe us off the planet where as the aliens in the original series wanted to eat us and enslave us. He based his prediction on what happened when Europeans colonized North America and saw the same happening with aliens instead of Europeans. National Geographic

Tributes have poured in from across the world, including from N.A.S.A. where they have dedicated a page to Stephen along with tweets of which this is One. E.S.A. also tweeted in honour of the professor.

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