This week the world mourns the death of the great Stephen Hawking, but also celebrates his achievements and contributions to science.
At age 21 having been diagnosed with ALS, Hawking was given just two years to live, but despite the odds he lived an extraordinary life to the age of 76. During his time, Hawking’s studies orbited around the behaviour of black holes, and in the early 1970s, he began to examine what quantum physics could expose about the event horizon, a black hole’s surface of no return. Hawking proposed that this surface would gradually release radiation causing the black hole to shrivel and disappear, slowly erasing information from the surrounding Universe. In the near future his predictions could be confirmed by the LIGO team who have already confirmed Einstein’s theory of gravitational waves last October.
Widely-known astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson wrote via Twitter: “[Stephen Hawking’s] passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it’s not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure.” Hawking’s tenacious spirit inspired a generation to realise what magnificent contributions are possible from the marvellous diversity of human form. His legacy continues.
Image: Twitter / (C)@MitchellToy – Stephen Hawking walking towards the universe
This story is taken from the 16 March 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.