The Death of Stephen Hawking

By: Nick Swafford

One of my biggest role models has died. Stephen Hawking, renowned scientist and theoretical physicist, is dead at the age of 76. As I am very invested in astronomy and science, his death hits very close to home, and it makes me think about a lot of the discoveries Hawking made. So today, we are gonna look back on all the innovative things Stephen Hawking did in his life.

Hawking was born in England on January 8th, 1942, which just so happens to be exactly 300 years after the great inventor and astronomer Galileo’s death. Hawking had a pretty normal life until the age of 21, when he learned he had ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. ALS causes nerve cells in the body to die, and the lack of nerve cells results in a severe deficit of body functions. Things we take for granted like eating, walking, and talking are all taken away by ALS. Most people die within two to five years because their respiratory systems shut down; Stephen Hawking lived for 55 years with it and basically shattered what we thought was medically possible.

However, Hawking didn’t slow down in his love for science because of his illness. Hawking went on to make several discoveries in his life, such as Hawking Radiation.

Stephen Hawking predicted Hawking Radiation in 1973 alongside Jacob Bekenstein, a fellow physicist, and a few soviet scientists. Hawking Radiation is the radiation that surrounds black holes just beyond the event horizon. Hawking theorized that this radiation will shrink black holes if they don’t intake enough mass. This would eventually shrink the black hole into nothingness. However, Hawking Radiation hasn’t actually been found yet, so it remains a theory for now.

Hawking also discovered singularities, which basically is how places in space-time where the gravitational field of an astronomical object makes it seem infinitely curved. Hawking and Roger Penrose used this research to confirm the science behind the Big Bang Theory. Speaking of the Big Bang, he also explained how the universe expanded so quickly and then started slowing down over time, which is known as cosmological inflation.

There are several other things that Hawking got correct, but there were also a lot of things he got wrong. Hawking was human after all, he made mistakes, as all humans do. I think that’s why Hawking’s death struck such a chord with me, he’s human, and his exemplified . So let’s give a final farewell with one of Hawking’s most famous quotes, “Where there is life, there is hope”.

P.S.I found this article that deeply concerns me and nearly makes me fear aliens as much as Hawking. Read the article for yourself here:



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