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March 14, 2018 Wednesday 10:24:28 AM IST

Acclaimed Physicist Stephen Hawking Dies

International Edu News

Cambridge, UK: The man who rewrote the fundamental assumptions of some of the most enduring questions of the universe has died. 
Stephen Hawking, the iconic British physicist, died on Wednesday after complications due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Aged 76, the professor was suffering from progressive neurodegenerative disease for long.
Hawking, though his contributions are diverse, is best known for his theory on Black Holes. He challenged the existing theory about black holes, that no form of matter or energy could escape that region of space where gravitation is at its most intense. Hawking theorised that the black holes emitted a form of radiation which was later named as Hawking Radiation. 
The physicist, who once said, “So Einstein was wrong when he said, ‘God does not play dice…’ Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can't be seen,” also played a key role in the mathematical effort to unify Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity with the emergent field of quantum physics. 
Hawking’s interests spanned an extraordinary range — from extra-terrestrial life to science fiction to cosmos to quantum physics and more. His first general-audience book, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, which had an entire generation hooked to the cosmos, sold approximately 10 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling science books of all time. 
In 1963, when he was 21 years old, Hawking was diagnosed with the debilitating motor neuron disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and was given two years to live. Hawking, however, survived for decades, longer than any other patient with the disease in medical history. The scientist used a wheelchair to move around and in public forums would use a sophisticated computer system to speak. 
The physicist’s inspiring and often turbulent personal story was rendered in the 2014 movie ‘The Theory of Everything’, which was based on a memoir by Hawking’s first wife, Jane Wilde. Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Hawking in the film won him an Oscar for best actor. 
Born on January 8, 1942, incidentally the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death, another of the modern greats in the scientific revolution of the 16th century ― Hawking received his doctorate in cosmology from Cambridge. In addition to his two former wives, Hawking is survived by three children and three grandchildren.

Dismissing the idea of an afterlife, which he described as a “fairy story for people afraid of the dark”, Hawking exhorted an entire generation “to look up at the stars and not down at your feet”.   (Inputs: huffingtonpost)