Stephen Hawking: By Srinivaas Sekaran
click here Courtesy of Science, Philosophy, and Technology
From the dawn of humanity, humans have always strived to better understand the universe around us. Only a handful of individuals throughout the years have contributed significantly to the field of science and Stephen Hawking is one of them. Hawking was born to an eminent medical researcher in Oxford, England on January 8, 1942. His father insisted that Hawking follow his footsteps and pursue a career in the medical field. However, Stephen wished to dedicate his life to something more fulfilling and chose to study mathematics. He was not a stellar student in his early school years. He spent little time academically since he was able to comprehend concepts quickly and thoroughly. After studying physics in Oxford University, he continued to study further at Cambridge. It was there that he first dealt with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The illness weakened Hawking’s nervous and muscular system- leaving him restrained to a wheelchair.
Over the years, the disease progressed and left him unable to speak and move at all. However, his achievements have moved the entire scientific community. He made ground- breaking advances in cosmology, the study of the origins and properties of the universe. He proposed the theory of singularity, which delved deep into complex subjects such as black holes. Hawking also completed Einstein’s unanswered unified field theory that holds valuable information for scientists of various fields. Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, garnered international acclaim and sold over a million copies. Numerous awards were given throughout his life and he continues to receive more. Some of them include the Albert Einstein medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award a civilian can receive in the United States. Stephen Hawking’s illness did not prevent him from changing the fundamental views on how we look at our universe. In fact, he stated that he was lucky since the disease was slow and gave him plenty of time to make many discoveries. Hawking remains not only a remarkable scientist but also living proof that no obstacle is large enough to prevent one from succeeding in life.