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Perception Through the Mind

Yunior Vidal, Contributor

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Stephen Hawking, an awe-inspiring figure to me and science, a man who had to overcome life’s blade of misfortune, and explore the mysteries of our universe like no man before him could ever dream of. Hawking sadly passed away March 14th, 2018, but he will remain a legend to us all. He inspired me to question the universe and how it functions. I can gladly say that I am in debt to him for prompting me to aspire to be a hunter of information just like him.

Among many other feats, Stephen Hawking was renowned for being a cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician, and one of the greatest physicist our world has ever witnessed.

Hawking suffered from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a neurodegenerative disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Diagnosed at 21,  doctors gave him a few years to live. But against all the expectations from several doctors about his condition, Stephen Hawking transcended this medical issue by focusing on the good things of life, his mind. “Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free,” said Hawking.

Through his rigorous outlook on the world and how it works, he accomplished more than any other man would have in his shoes. Hawking revolutionized how physicists thought black holes worked adding the “Hawking radiation” to a long list of theories. This theory was considered to be a breakthrough in theoretical physics, accomplishing what no other physicist could in his field at the time despite his hindrances in life.

Stephen Hawking published  “A Brief History of Time,” renowned as one of the top 100 non-fiction books of all time.  Hawking’s book suggested questions such as “why do we exist?” and provided answers like “with hard physics, gentle metaphor and ideas so big they fill up space itself.” The book, which aimed to help readers outside the scientific community  “understand the fundamental questions of physics and our existence,” was recorded in the 1998 Guinness Book of Records as an all-time bestseller, and would propel Hawking to notoriety. Before its publication in spring 1988, Hawking let “TIME” in on a secret in his typically witty way. “Someone told me that each equation I included in the book would halve the sales,” said Hawking. “In the end, however, I did put in Einstein’s famous equation E = mc squared. I hope that this will not scare off half my potential readers.”

The Simpsons has also been a platform for Hawking’s witty side. He was the first world-renowned scientist that appeared on the Fox cartoon in May 1999 on the season 10 episode, “They Saved Lisa’s Brain.” Hawking appeared on the show three times, including the May 2005 episode, “Don’t fear the Roofer,” which parodied “A Beautiful Mind”, and the September 2010 episode, “Elementary School Musical.” He also appeared on Matt Groening’s “Futurama” and was immortalized in the toy world as a Simpsons action figure.

These chances that Hawking got at comedy truly showed how he felt about his condition. He did not let it bring him down, for if he did, then “life would be tragic.” He was quoted in “People’s Daily Online” in 2006 when asked about euthanasia: “However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”

Many famous figures in the scientific community showed their respect and sorrow for Hawking’s passing.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, an American Astrophysicist, and fellow friend, tweeted, “[his] 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. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018.”

We will never strip ourselves of his influence or the impact that he had on us by thinking outside the box. Stephen Hawking will eternally remain a figure of great wisdom and great ingenuity. Space and time will never forget his efforts to explore and discover, and neither will we. May he rest in peace with the cosmos.

 

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