He was arguably the most famous living scientist of our time, Stephen Hawking has passed away today at the age of 76 at his family home in Cambridge.
Living a high profile existence for most of his life, Stephen Hawking was known for his many scientific breakthroughs in cosmology during the 70s and 80s which changed our understanding of black holes and the origins of our universe. His most well-known being that black holes contain an infinite density in which nothing can escape not even light and that the mysterious leaking energy that hovers around it known as Hawking Radiation eventually causes its collapse allowing for an explosion to take place with the energy of a million nuclear bombs giving rise to the birth to our universe.
At the age of 21, he was diagnosed with ALS, an incurable motor neurone disease which unfolded slowly over his lifetime. Initially, doctors only expected him to live for two years, yet survived another five decades.
Hawking would go on to enjoy an almost caricature-like existence in pop culture immortalised in TV shows like The Simpsons and most recently The Theory of Everything.
Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said in a statement: “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. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world.”
It was book A Brief History Of Time published in 1988 that propelled him to true stardom, selling over 25 million copies and translated into 40 languages. A lot of his later work was built around his concern for the future of humanity and the existential risks artificial intelligence poses to our species.