Stephen Hawking (1942 – 2018): The Physicist Who Reshaped Modern Cosmology

Stephen Hawking
Photographer: Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Award-winning physicist whose ideas and insights reshaped the world’s modern cosmology, Stephen Hawking, has died in his home in Cambridge, England. He was 76.

Who was Stephen Hawking?
Stephen Hawking, World renowned cosmetologist
Stephen Hawking, World renowned cosmologist

Born on 8 January, 1942, Hawking was considered one of the leading figures in science due to his extensive research and work related to understanding the universe. In 1963, at 21, he was given only two years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neuron disease.

The illness left him paralyzed in a wheelchair, unable to move a muscle and speak except through a voice synthesizer. He was one of the planet’s most renowned science popularizers, traveling all around the world and meeting with important people.

He began his undergraduate studies at the University of Oxford before proceeding to the University of Cambridge for his PhD. Hawking also retired from his position as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge in 2009.

Aside being a scientist, he also authored several popular books including, A Brief History of Time (1988),
Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays (1993), The Universe in a Nutshell (2001), On The Shoulders of Giants (2002), God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History (2005), The Dreams That Stuff Is Made of: The Most Astounding Papers of Quantum Physics and How They Shook the Scientific World (2011), and My Brief History (2013).

Famous Discoveries Hawking was Known for

In the late 1960s, he and his Cambridge friend and colleague, Roger Penrose, applied a new mathematical model they had created from Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. But Hawking’s first major breakthrough came in 1970, when he and Roger Penrose applied the mathematics of black holes to the entire universe and showed that a singularity lay in our distant past. This point gave birth to the Big Bang theory.

In 1974, Hawking and Jacob Bekenstein showed that black holes are not actually completely black, but that they should thermally create and emit sub-atomic particles, known today as ‘Hawking radiation’.

He was also a recipient of several awards including Albert Medal (Royal Society of Arts) (1999), Copley Medal (2006), Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009), Fundamental Physics Prize (2012), and BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2015).

Being one of the figures that revolutionized science as a whole, we at Technext say, may his soul rest in peace.


Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!