Wednesday marked the death of visionary physicist, Stephen Hawking. According to his family, he died peacefully at his Cambridge home in England. And while his death is a great loss, it’s also a moment to recognize the many gifts Hawking gave not only to science, but to humanity in general.
At the age of 21, Hawking was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurons disease. Doctors estimated that Hawking would only live for a few more years. However, he defeated the odds and went on to live for more than 50 years. According to eminent scientist and astronomer, Royal Lord Rees, Hawking’s life is a “triumph.”
His impact in the world cannot be underestimated. Hawking’s revolutionary discoveries in relativity and black holes, have changed modern physics specifically, and science in general.
In 1979, Hawking was made the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, which is a position that Sir Isaac Newton once held. Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time, was published in 1988, and since then, over 10 million copies have been sold.
In a statement from Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said, “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.”
But apart from his well-known legacy, his three children remind us that “his courage and persistence, with his brilliance and humor, inspired people across the world.”
And no doubt this legacy of persistence and courage will live on, too.