World-renowned physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking passed away this morning at the age of 76. Through those years, he has not only helped us understand the world better, but he’s also been a source of inspiration to many. Science enthusiast or not, everyone has something to learn from the visionary scientist.
Known for his pioneering work in the field of general relativity, Stephen Hawking was also a bestselling author. Throughout his life, he tried to build more understanding about how the universe functions. Suffering from an incurable ailment that limited his physical abilities, his tenacity did not let it affect his work. He’s written various papers and books in his lifetime, including the famous ‘A Brief History of Time’.
Below we’ve put together a few of the most inspirational moments of his life, spanning three-quarters of a century.
Disabilities can’t stop you from achieving your goals
Shortly after his 21st birthday, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a disease that caused him to lose the ability to use most of his muscles. The average life expectancy being just 2 to 4 years, Hawking was told that he only had the minimum left to live.
This diagnosis led to a state of depression which he quickly turned into a newly energized drive to learn as much as he could before his time would come. According to what he once mentioned in a interview, he believed that the diagnosis is what deserves credit for pushing him to become the scientist that he is known as today. He was unsure whether he would be able to complete his PhD on time before his death, which sped up his efforts to research.
Always strive to make a difference
“Another dream I had several times was that I would sacrifice my life to save others. After all, if I was going to die anyway, I might as well do some good.”
Part of a quote by Stephen Hawking, this shows his dedication towards the world. He focused on making complex scientific ideas more accessible to the general populace. His style of writing was ‘Pop-science’ that tried to generate a scientific way of thinking in people.
Stephen Hawking wanted to contribute as much as he could towards the world. In his later life, he even worked on a TV Show called ‘Genius’ wherein ordinary people were asked questions about the universe and taught how to ‘think like a genius’. He even worked on writing children’s books with his daughter Lucy. These were designed to explain concepts of theoretical physics and other similar concepts in a simpler and more accessible manner.
A sense of humor makes everything easier
Rather than be morose about his condition, Stephen Hawking chose to confront it head-on. He was a rather cheery and optimistic person and commonly appeared in various comedy shows and skits. One of these skits even showed him mowing another man down with his wheelchair. From the Simpsons to Futurama, and some comedy based talk shows, Hawking had guest appearances in them all.
Love always finds a way to blossom
A man that can barely speak, let alone move, he still had a fulfilling life with more than just his work and his genius. Stephen Hawking led an extraordinary life but he didn’t skip on ordinary pleasures. He married a linguist called Jane Wilde, who he met just a short while before he was diagnosed with ALS. Although their marriage eventually ended, he still had three children with her.
There’s always something to live for
The most important lesson that we learn from the life of Stephen Hawking, is about how important it is to treasure life. Although his body slowly gave up on him, he never let the sharpness of his mind dull. He kept on working towards his goals, starting from earning his PhD, to musing about the workings of the universe. He never let go of his dreams. When faced with adversity, he was only encouraged to work harder to achieve them.
Throughout his life, Stephen Hawking demonstrated his iron will, in how he refused to cower to his circumstances and powered through, thus making a mark on this world that will be remembered for millennia to come.
There is a spark in everyone, all you need is to make sure it doesn’t go out, no matter what problems you face.