Stephen Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, he was one of the leading astrophysicists in the world, best known for his studies on black holes and the origin of the universe.

At 76-years-old; he was not only a scientist; he was also an icon. He died at the same age of Albert Einstein, but 62 years later in mid-March.

In 1963 when he was diagnosed with ALS, Hawking was 21 years old. After an initial phase of depression, however, he reclaimed the desire to study.

His first significant discovery came in 1970 when he applied the mathematics of black holes to the entire cosmos and showed a singularity, an infinite curvature in space-time region, laying in our distant past.

Hawking carried on his studies of black holes and in 1974 expanded the theory of how the black holes should emit heat, and eventually disappear.

Ordinarily, this process is not expeditious, but when they are next to finishing its life cycle, the mini-black holes release natural heat at a super-fast speed, ending to explode with an energy that can be compared to one-megaton hydrogen bombs.

This thesis has risen one of the most passionate debates in modern cosmology.

In 1979 comes the highest award, Cambridge University offered him the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics, a position also held previously by Newton and Dirac. Hawking held the occupation for professor of mathematics at Cambridge for thirty years, then became a researcher at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology.

In the 80’s came other important contributions as the ‘cosmological inflation theory’, which ensured that the new-born universe went through a period of unimaginable expansion, to the quantum fluctuations, which are tiny variations in the distribution of substance, which could give rise to the spread of galaxies across the universe.

After undergoing a tracheotomy as a result of pneumonia, in 1985 he permanently lost the use of language. Since then he communicated with the rest of the world via a computer with a synthesiser voice.

In 1988 comes a second turning point, when he published ‘A Brief History of Time’. The Sunday Times listed it as bestseller for 237 weeks, sold over 10 million copies and was transcribed into more than 40 different languages.

I personally loved every page of the book because, although I don’t have high scientific bases, Hawking was capable of putting me and all the readers in a position to understand all the concepts.

In particular, Hawking studies have confirmed the existence of the so-called gravitational singularity. These are areas in which the material has an infinite density and in which the concepts of space and time is a disclaimer.

A disclaimer is an elegant word used by physicists when one or more entities diverge to infinity, theorised by Einstein for the first time. Hawking speculated that one of these singularities coincides with the Big Bang.

Also, he drafted for first the laws of thermodynamics and black holes, showing that these objects were able to radiate subatomic particles.

Another quality that was appreciated was his sense of humour, often a merit that allowed him to remind us that our existence is short and should not be taken too seriously and that irony is relevant, in most cases, a resource indispensable for winning the difficulties of life.

I would like to finish this piece with a great sentence he said, this quote should be a light in the dark for all the problems we have to encounter on our path.

“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark”.

Photo by Yong Chuan on Unsplash

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