Stephen Hawking was much more than a theoretical physicist or cosmologist. He was a world treasure who will be long remembered not only for his scientific contributions, but his contributions to humanity.
I suspect many of you as, well as myself, are guilty of identifying Hawking as “that paralyzed guy in the wheel chair” and maybe were even guilty of laughing at his unfortunate state when you were younger. If that’s the case, fear not, I’m certain you were not alone; many poked fun at Hawking for their own comic relief. What I want to bring attention to is this: while maybe you and I were laughing and embarrassingly poking fun at Hawking, he was giving.
He was giving back to science, he was giving back to his country, and he was giving back to humanity. That was the kind of man Hawking was, he changed our world for the greater good with no thought of selfishness or prosperity of his own. He will be long remembered, and rightfully so, for his scientific advancements and contributions.
According to The New York Times, Hawking specialized and dealt most notably with cosmology, general relativity, and quantum gravity, as well as working on the subject of Black Holes. Hawking’s motor neuron disease (also better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) slowly crippled him throughout the decades from his middle and late 20’s and strained much of his personal life and relationship with his children and ex-wife.
Before Hawking’s death on March 14 of this year, I had paid little to no attention to Mr. Hawking and what he was up to or what he was working on. I didn’t deem it relevant to me, which is ironic because following his death, I felt compelled to research some of his work aside from science and came across Hawking the man, to his core, and what his beliefs and motives were. He was caring beyond belief, and extremely intelligent and mindful of the outside world around him.
“In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?” Hawking famously posed these kind of questions to which he don’t know the answers to, to raise awareness and start the conversation among people like you and I who aren’t as invested in these topics as we should be. Hawking looked at everyone in the world as his equal; we were all brothers and sisters part of this global humanitarian family.
As a columnist, I thought it a disservice to not talk about Mr. Hawking the man, only focusing only on Hawking the doctor, professor, and researcher. He was personified in the way he carried himself and most people don’t know that, and hopefully now we all will.
Rest in Peace, Stephen.