“Stephen W. Hawking, the Cambridge University physicist and best-selling author who roamed the cosmos from a wheelchair, pondering the nature of gravity and the origin of the universe and becoming an emblem of human determination and curiosity, has died early Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, England,” reports The New York Times, adding, “He was 76.”
The story continues, “‘Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world,’ Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, said in an interview.”
The Times obituary, by Dennis Overbye, adds “Dr. Hawking did that largely through his book ‘A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes,’ published in 1988. It has sold more than 10 million copies and inspired a documentary film by Errol Morris. The 2014 film about his life, ‘The Theory of Everything,’ was nominated for several Academy Awards and Eddie Redmayne, who played Dr. Hawking, won the best-actor Oscar.”
Writes the BBC, “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 almost completely paralysed.”
The BBC story adds, “He once wrote that he had motor neurone disease for practically all his adult life but said that it had not stopped him having an attractive family and being successful in his work.
“‘It shows,’ he said, ‘that one need not lose hope.’”
We found this brief video on YouTube. Made in 2015, it’s about Hawking and the technology that allowed him to speak: