Stephen Hawking, Theoretical Physicist and Author, Dies at 76

Did you know Stephen Hawking was also a 'rock star'?

The unfettered mind of Stephen Hawking

Hawking died Wednesday at the age of 76 in Cambridge, U.K. The theoretical physicist revolutionized people's understanding of black holes, including the now-widely held understanding that they emit radiation.

Needless to say, celebrities from all over the world, such as the likes of Shah Rukh Khan and others were observed to be paying their heartfelt tributes to the man.

And of course, no one can forget Hawking's crucial contributions to culture-by way of his breakout appearances on The Simpsons and Star Trek, and of course, at UC Berkeley.

As for science after Stephen Hawking, there are people who will continue his business: cosmologists who study the development of the whole universe; employees of our department of the theory of relativity do it to a certain degree. While this seems daunting and perhaps concerning, it also has inspired hundreds - if not thousands of physicists - to work in the hard area of quantum gravity, because the greatest rewards lie where the greatest problems are.

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"He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years", his children Lucy, Robert and Tim said, as quoted by Reuters.

Naturally, for me, as an astrophysicist, what happened on 14 March was a reason to feel sad.

Hawking is an icon in the world of physics, in particular for his book, "A Brief History of Time", which was written to help the non-physicists among us understand things like where the universe came from, how it began and if it will end.

After his second marriage ended, Hawking and Jane rekindled their friendship and appeared together to promote "The Theory of Everything", a movie about Hawking's life based on her personal memoir, "Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen".

In loving memory of Stephen Hawking. Realizing that our paths will cross, Gerry and I both tried to get Hans to stop and engage Hawking, imagining that Hawking would be delighted to meet the eminent Bethe, victor of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967 for his discovery of how stars generate the energy to shine.

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But it was in his 1988 book A Brief History of Time that Hawking shared his theories with a mass audience, making them explicitly nontechnical and accessible to the average person.

Hawking himself found recognition from the Catholic Church, being named a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

He said: "What a privilege it was to know Stephen Hawking". Georges Lemaitre, a past president of the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, as the true father of the "Big Bang" theory of the universe-a theory sometimes credited to another physicist. Previously nothing was believed to escape the black hole's intense gravity.

In 1974, Hawking that black holes explode and disappear, releasing radiation and particles. Hawking's iron will that made him such a huge source of inspiration for many people.

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