A mind without limits

Stephen Hawking fue un científico brillante que dedicó su carrera a intentar explicar cómo se formó el universo. (Paul. E. Alers / EFE)

The physicist Stephen Hawking developed brilliant theories about the origin of the universe despite the limitations of his illness

The English physicist Stephen Hawking died on March 14, 2018 at the age of 76. He was one of the most important scientists of our time: he created theories to explain the origin of the universe and how it was formed.

Born on January 8, 1942, Hawking studied at Oxford and Cambridge, two of the most prestigious universities in the world. He developed incredibly complex mathematical formulas to explain his theories about black holes and the expansion of space.

However, he liked to share his discoveries outside the academic sphere, beyond universities and research centers, to open a window to the universe to all those people who wanted to explore it.

That’s why he wrote Brief History of Time (1988), a popular book that explains how the universe works, what black holes are or how the Big Bang was produced. It is his best-known work, of which more than 10 million copies have been sold.

His discoveries were fundamental to advance in the field of cosmology and theoretical physics, but above all we must assess his work when popularizing science and mathematics.

Mind’s power 

His findings are even more extraordinary if we consider that in 1963, when he was 21 years old, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease that affects muscles and movement.

The doctors gave him two years to live, but Hawking lived another half century. The illness forced him to move in a wheelchair and at the end of his life he could not move, nor even talk. But that did not stop him from continuing to work on his theories.

Hawking developed a computer program with a speech synthesizer that allowed him to speak through a computer built into his chair. His physical limitations were enormous, but his intellectual capacity had no limits.

The most famous physicist in t’he world

Beyond the importance of his theories, Hawking became known throughout the world for his history for his capacity to overcome and excel.

As the disease progressed, his body waned but his mind remained intact. He became a role model for the lovers of science, but also for people with disabilities.

During the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympic Games, Hawking gave a short speech in which he encouraged the athletes to explore their own limits and never giveup: “Look up towards the stars and not at your feet”.

His physical limitations did not prevent him from traveling around the world to give lectures, even to Antarctica. He travelled in a hot air balloon and experienced zero gravity.

He met with presidents of several countries and met the Pope. He married twice and had three children. He participated in television programs, shows and even made his own character in The Simpsons.

He did not win the Nobel Prize in Physics, although the scientific community had claimed this distinction for him for years. But we have the work and ingenuity of his privileged mind, the best legacy he could leave us.

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report


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