The Life of Stephen Hawking


by Erin Anderson, Staff Writer

One of the greatest minds in science, Stephen Hawking, passed away last week at the age of 76. After a life of battling adversity and discovering some of the most profound secrets of our universe, Stephen Hawking did not leave this world unchanged.

Born on January 8, 1942, Stephen Hawking entered the world in northern London. He attended University College, Oxford in 1952, aiming to study mathematics, but opted for physics upon learning that mathematics was not offered. He achieved his first class honors degree in natural science after only three years.

In 1962, Hawking decided to study cosmology at the University of Cambridge. Unfortunately, at the young age of 21, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a disease that causes muscle movement to decrease and deteriorate, and the symptoms only get worse over time. Currently, there is no cure for ALS.

However, Hawking’s diagnosis did not stop him. His doctors predicted that he would not live for more than two years, but Hawking continued to push on. He started to focus more on his studies and eventually earned his Ph.D. in 1965.

Slowly but surely, the disease started to take more of Hawking’s abilities. In 1969, he had to start using a wheelchair, and by 1985, he had lost his voice after a tracheotomy. But, a California computer programmer developed a way for Hawking to speak through a computer.

In addition to being an incredibly smart individual, Hawking has written at least twelve books, his most famous being A Brief History of Time. Released in 1988, the book details an overview of space and time, and some of Hawking’s cosmology theories, how we see the universe and how it exists.

Throughout his life and career, Hawking has attended numerous conferences and spoken about his theories and work on black holes. He has also appeared on many television shows as himself, including The Big Bang Theory, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The Simpsons. In 2014, the film The Theory of Everything told his story on the big screen with a focus on his relationship with his wife Jane.

Just a few weeks before his death, it has been said that Stephen Hawking predicted the end of the world. According to him, the Earth will “go dark” and the stars around our planet will lose energy.

Stephen Hawking changed the scientific world as we know it. His work with black hole research and discovering the secrets of the universe will forever influence scientific minds around the world. His perseverance throughout his life shows individuals that they can accomplish anything, no matter what is standing in the way.