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Mourning Hawking
Physicist Stephen Hawking is seen in his office at the University of Cambridge in this photo handed out by the Science Museum and dated December 2011- Photo: REUTERS

Mourning Hawking

Newsroom & Agencies
Mexico City
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Stephen Hawking, who sought to explain the origins of the universe, the mysteries of black holes and the nature of time itself, died on Wednesday aged 76

Stephen Hawking, who sought to explain the origins of the universe, the mysteries of black holes and the nature of time itself, died peacefully at his home in the British university city of Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday at 76.

Hawking’s formidable mind probed the very limits of human understanding both in the vastness of space and in the bizarre sub-molecular world of quantum theory, which he said could predict what happens at the beginning and end of time.

Stephen William Hawking was born on January 8, 1942. He grew up in and around London. After studying physics at Oxford University, he was in his first year of research work at Cambridge when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Ravaged by the wasting disease he developed at 21, Hawking was confined to a wheelchair for most of his life.

As his condition worsened, he had to speak through a voice synthesizer and communicating by moving his eyebrows-but at the same time became the world’s most recognizable scientist.

Hawking shot to international fame after the 1988 publication of “A Brief History of Time,” one of the most complex books ever to achieve mass appeal, which stayed on the Sunday Times best-sellers list for no fewer than 237 weeks.

His children Lucy, Robert, and Tim assured “he was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years” whose courage and persistence inspired people across the world.

On Twitter, Oxford University wrote a moving message to its student:

In Cambridge, Hawking’s university college Gonville and Caius flew its flag at half mast.

British Prime Minister Theresa May wrote: “Stephen Hawking was a brilliant and extraordinary mind - one of the great scientists of his generation. His courage, humor and determination to get the most from life was an inspiration. His legacy will not be forgotten."

The U.S. space agency NASA wrote a message and prepared a touching video

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, wrote: “We have lost a colossal mind and a wonderful spirit.”

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations wrote: "Stephen Hawking was a cosmic force and an inspiration. He taught us the mysteries of outer space and the potential of our inner selves. The United Nations has lost a friend and the world a strong advocate of science for the common good."

The National Autonomous University of Mexico wrote in Spanish: "Farewell, Stephen Hawking! Thank you for letting us get closer to science and for showing us that there are no limits to achieving our dreams."

Other relevant universities in Mexico such as the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla (BUAP) had similar reactions to the death of physicist Stephen Hawking.

Mexico's National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) wrote in Spanish: "With his brilliant talent for science diffusion, the British physicist Stephen Hawking relieved the secrets of the universe."

Hawking’s popular recognition became such that he appeared as himself on the television shows “Star Trek: Next Generation” and “The Big Bang Theory,” and his cartoon caricature appeared on “The Simpsons.” He narrated a segment of the opening ceremony of the London Paralympic Games in August 2012, the year he turned 70, and his amazing life even inspired the biographical romantic drama film “The Theory of Everything” charting the onset of his illness and his early life as a brilliant student.

Since 1974, Hawking worked extensively on marrying the two cornerstones of modern physics - Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which concerns gravity and large-scale phenomena, and quantum theory, which covers subatomic particles.

As a result of that research, Hawking proposed a model of the universe based on two concepts of time: ”real time”, or time as human beings experience it, and “quantum theory’s 'imaginary time,'” on which the world may really run.

Another major area of his research was into black holes, the regions of space-time where gravity is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape.

It should be noted that Hawking's life was intrinsically tied to astronomy. His birth aligns with the 300th anniversary of the death of astronomer Galileo Galilei while his passing aligns with the birth anniversary of theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.


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