This article is over 3 months old Play Video 3: He died at the age of 76 in the early hours of Wednesday morning. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.
His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world. I have so much I want to do first Stephen Hawking Hawking was driven to Wagner, but not the bottle, when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in at the age of Doctors expected him to live for only two more years.
But Hawking had a form of the disease that progressed more slowly than usual. He survived for more than half a century. Hawking once estimated he worked only 1, hours during his three undergraduate years at Oxford. In his finals, he came borderline between a first- and second-class degree.
Convinced that he was seen as a difficult student, he told his viva examiners that if they gave him a first he would move to Cambridge to pursue his PhD. Award a second and he threatened to stay. They opted for a first. Those who live in the shadow of death are often those who live most. For Hawking, the early diagnosis of his terminal disease, and witnessing the death from leukaemia of a boy he knew in hospital, ignited a fresh sense of purpose.
Embarking on his career in earnest, he declared: It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.
Hawking, he said, had an absolute determination not to let anything get in his way. For normal-sized black holes, the process is extremely slow, but miniature black holes would release heat at a spectacular rate, eventually exploding with the energy of a million one-megaton hydrogen bombs.
His proposal that black holes radiate heat stirred up one of the most passionate debates in modern cosmology. Hawking argued that if a black hole could evaporate, all the information that fell inside over its lifetime would be lost forever.
It contradicted one of the most basic laws of quantum mechanics, and plenty of physicists disagreed. He was discussing their work with them in the pub when Taylor noticed he was turning his speech synthesiser up to the max. The whole pub turned around and looked at the group before Hawking turned the volume down and clarified the statement: The theory of cosmic inflation holds that the fledgling universe went through a period of terrific expansion.
In , Hawking was among the first to show how quantum fluctuations — tiny variations in the distribution of matter — might give rise through inflation to the spread of galaxies in the universe. In these tiny ripples lay the seeds of stars, planets and life as we know it.
Published for the first time in , the title made the Guinness Book of Records after it stayed on the Sunday Times bestsellers list for an unprecedented weeks. It sold 10m copies and was translated into 40 different languages.
Nevertheless, wags called it the greatest unread book in history.