British physicist Stephen Hawking died in the early morning hours of March 14 in his Cambridge, England home as a result of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and ALS – at the age of 76.
Hawking was first diagnosed with the motor neuron disease when he was 21 and given only two years to live. He survived for over 50 years with the disease. As his body began to betray him, taking away his ability to walk and function independently, Hawking’s brain remained sharp and gave a number of scientific revelations to the world.
It was not the ALS that deprived Hawking of his speech but a tracheotomy after a bout of pneumonia in 1985. A year later he acquired the voice synthesizing computer that he became famous for using.
He first came to prominence after writing his first book “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes”.
He was born Stephen William Hawking on January 8, 1942, the oldest of four children to Oxford graduate parents. He was not an exceptional student, instead preferring to with computers and board games. However, a 17 year old Hawking was admitted to Oxford University where he chose to study physics but was less than a studious collegiate.
Nonetheless he graduated from Oxford and chose to attend Cambridge for his post graduate studies. Attending Trinity Collage, he focused his studies on black holes and singularities.
Despite the diagnosis of ALS and a two year life expectancy, Hawking continued his studies and earned his doctoral degree in Cosmology.
Along with his numerous television appearances in documentaries, news and science programs, talk shows, award shows, and hosting the “Masters of Science Fiction’: Hawking has made acting appearances in an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, appeared in four episodes of “The Simpsons”, two episodes of “Futurama”, the made for TV movie “Quantum is Calling”, and seven episodes of the television situation comedy “The Big Bang Theory”.
In 1968 Hawking began a post at Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge. Then came a Fellowship at the Royal Society, a brief teaching stint at the California Institute of Technology, a and Lucasian Professorship of Mathematics at Cambridge. Other recognitions include the Albert Einstein Award, Presidential Medal of Freedom, holds the title of a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and was made a Companion of Honour by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
Married and divorced twice, Hawking is survived by his children Lucy, Robert, and Timothy and three grandchildren.