Research

Stephen Hawking helped elevate Canada's science profile

Stephen Hawking helped elevate Canada's science profile

From the age of 21, the scientist was suffering from ALS, a motor neurone disease, that limited his abilities to move around.

He had said he tried to lead as normal a life as possible without thinking about his condition.

Hawking has made many important contributions to the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity.

Inside the shell of his increasingly useless body was a razor-sharp mind, fascinated by the nature of the Universe, how it was formed and how it might end.

Hawking is best known for his groundbreaking work in physics regarding relativity and black holes, theorizing that black holes emit radiation and eventually lose energy and weren't just pits of darkness as previously believed - a theory that became known as Hawking radiation.

"He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years", they said.

1974 - Elected as a fellow of the Royal Society at age 32, one of the youngest people to receive the honour. The scientist also made a few television appearances, some for his work in science in TV specials and others were in fiction shows where he played himself.

1979: He is appointed Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, a post he occupies for 30 years.

Hawking has put Newton's gravitational theories to the test in 2007. And I kind of thought he would, you know?But he did really want to do that and he's been thinking about that and planning now and hoping for that and for a long time.

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When he turned 75 in January of previous year, Hawking shared his surprise that he had made it that far in life and left us with a quote about black holes that might as well serve as an encouraging metaphor for life in the political darkness that is 2018.

The London Evening Standard estimated Hawking's wealth at £5 million ($6.9 million), mostly from sales of 1988's A Brief History of Time, which shifted 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages.

Dr Robert Ferdmen, 41, a lecturer in physics at the University of East Anglia, said: "He was hugely influential and important".

Hawking also left a wide mark on the scientific community at large.

Hawking got married twice, had three children, then lived to meet his three grandchildren, even as ALS slowly gnawed away at his muscle function. In 1995 he marries his former nurse, Elaine Mason; they too divorce after several years.

Hawking's life story was brought to the big screen in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything.

Rightfully so, today has been all about mourning the loss of Stephen Hawking and also celebrating his life.

Justin Rattner, chief technology officer at Intel, who introduced Prof Hawking's speech, said: "With more than half a century of remarkable research Professor Hawking has continually pushed the boundaries of humankind's understanding of the cosmos".


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