While confined to a wheel chair for most of his life, Stephen Hawking revolutionized modern astrophysics by uncovering the mysteries of black holes – areas of space with such gravitational strength that not even light can escape them.
In his early twenties, Hawking contracted ALS (or Lou Gehrig's disease) – an illness which would slowly paralyze him over the course of his life. Despite his condition, he rose to prominence in Cambridge as a leading theoretical physicist. Inspired by the work of Roger Penrose, he began doing research on black holes and their relationship to the structure of the universe. He discovered that black holes emit radiation, now called Hawking Radiation, which causes them to gradually shrink, countering previous theories that they remain fixed.
In 1988, Hawking published the classic "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes," in which he outlined the history of cosmology and attempted to devise a unified theory of the universe, connecting General relativity and Quantum mechanics. The work sold over 10 million copies and became a cornerstone of modern physics and cosmology.
Stephen Hawking died on March 14th 2018 – the 139th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s birth.
- Stephen Hawking, Wikipedia.