Last updated March 15, 2018 at 10:11 am
Professor Stephen Hawking passes away peacefully at home in Cambridge.
The wheelchair-bound physicist Stephen Hawking was an inspiration to scientists and the public alike around the world.
He revolutionised our understanding of physics and the universe, and will stand alongside Einstein, Newton and Franklin as some of the greatest minds in history.
His children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said in a statement “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.
“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.”
“He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever,” they said.
A brilliant physics researcher
Hawking shot to international fame in 1988 with his bestselling book A Brief History of Time. In it, he brought cosmology, quantum physics and the universe into the public consciousness. Such was its impact on readers, it stayed in the Sunday Times bestseller list for 5 years.
His public profile was boosted yet again after the release of the biopic The Theory of Everything in 2014.
Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963. Doctors at the time gave him just two years to live. His longevity became an inspiration.
Following studies at Cambridge University he made his name in the physics world as a brilliant researcher. He held the position of Lucasian Professor at Cambridge between 1979 and 2009, the same chair held by Isaac Newton in 1663.
Professor Hawking had been awarded over a dozen honorary degrees and was awarded the CBE in 1982.
He never met a time traveller from the future.
What experts are saying about Stephen Hawking
A/Prof Alan Duffy is Lead Scientist of The Royal Institution of Australia and a Research Fellow in the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing.
“Professor Hawking was an inspiration to me to become not just a scientist, but a communicator of that science.
“His work as a cosmologist and discoveries in black hole physics were legendary.
“His best-known prediction, named by the community as Hawking Radiation, transformed black holes from inescapable gravitational prisons into objects that instead shrink and fade away over time.
“His writings were inspirational to many scientists and enriched the lives of millions with the latest science and cosmic perspectives.
“He was also wonderfully funny with a fantastic media savviness that propelled him into A-list celebrity stardom as few other scientists before. Through it all, of course, his illness made his achievements near-superhuman. How he manipulated Einstein’s equations in his mind when he could no longer hold a pen I can’t even begin to imagine.
“While his many contributions will live on, there is no doubt that science and the wider world is the poorer for his passing.”
Dr Brad Tucker is a Research Fellow and Outreach Manager at Mt. Stromlo Observatory at the Australian National University:
“Stephen Hawking not only was a leader in cosmology and astrophysics, but also pushed us all – to challenge ourselves and the unknown. He leaves having inspired many of us and having helped us to tackle the big questions that humans have asked for centuries.”
Paul Haese is President of the Astronomical Society of South Australia
“A brilliant mind who gave so much both physically and conceptually has now left us. He will be missed amongst the amateur astronomical community.”