Renowned Scientist Stephen Hawking Dead Aged 76

Stephen Hawking 1924-2018

Renowned Scientist Stephen Hawking Dead Aged 76

Stephen Hawking, one of the most influential physicists of the twentieth century and perhaps the most celebrated icon of contemporary science, has died at the age of 76.

In a statement, Professor Hawking's children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said: "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today".

A man of great humour, he became a popular ambassador for science and was always careful to ensure that the general public had ready access to his work. He one said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever.

The University of Cambridge has confirmed that the physicist died in the early hours of 14 March at his home in Cambridge, England.

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As a teenager he had enjoyed horse-riding and rowing but while at Cambridge he was diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease which was to leave him nearly completely paralysed.

The illness left him wheelchair-bound and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser - with its computerised American accent achieving iconic status in recent decades, partly thanks to his numerous appearances on The Simpsons. The next two years were the most hard of his life as he struggled to find a suitable doctorate subject while the crippling disease took hold.

"I am quite often asked: how do you feel about having ALS?" he once wrote.

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Hawking made several discoveries that transformed the way scientists viewed black holes and the universe.

The best-known theoretical physicist of his time, Hawking wrote so lucidly of the mysteries of space, time and black holes that his book, "A Brief History of Time", became an worldwide bestseller, making him one of science's biggest celebrities since Albert Einstein.

Stephen Hawking was undoubtedly an intellectual giant, making leaps of reasoning that sometimes led to startling insights into the nature of the physical world.

In an exclusive interview with CNN in October 2008, Hawking said that if humans can survive the next 200 years and learn to live in space, then our future will be bright.

"I believe that life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers".

As part of the documentary Professor Hawking planned to travel around the world to find out how we might exist in outer space. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring.

Hawking, together with Roger Penrose, united Einstein's theory of relativity with quantum theory to suggest that space and time began with the Big Bang and will end in black holes.

More recently he said artificial intelligence (AI) could contribute to the eradication of disease and poverty, while warning of its potential dangers. He was able to move only a few fingers on one hand and was completely dependent on others or on technology for virtually everything - bathing, dressing, eating, even speech.

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