Physicist and Pop Culture Icon Steven Hawking Dead at 76

Stephen Hawking at the 2015 BAFTA awards
Stephen Hawking at the 2015 BAFTA awards(Credit: Twocoms/Depositphotos)

Pioneering theoretical physicist and science popularizer Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76. Details have not been released yet, but the BBC reports that his kids Lucy, Robert and Tim have released a statement saying, “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.”

Born in Oxford on January 8, 1942, Stephen Hawking studied at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Despite the diagnosis in 1963 of a rare early-onset, slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis that should have claimed his life in a matter of months, Hawking survived and continued to work, write, and lecture for decades, even after he suffered total paralysis and required a speech synthesizer to communicate.

Hawkings went on to become one of the most acclaimed scientists of his generation with a level of fame rivaled only by Albert Einstein. His early work on the mechanics of black holes led him into the fields of cosmology, quantum mechanics, and relativity. He was especially notable for his work on Hawking radiation, the Penrose–Hawking theorems, the Bekenstein–Hawking formula, and Hawking energy.

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