Stephen Hawking taught us more than physics

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  • Stephen Hawking's My Brief History cover art.
    Stephen Hawking's My Brief History cover art.
  • Dearborn, Mich. — While students spend many hours with math and science books,more people are familiar with Stephen Hawking’s appearances on The Simpsons, Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Big Bang Theory than have studied within the halls of Oxford, where Hawking completed his undergraduate work.

    Hawking, a revered physicist and author, died in his Cambridge home, today. While his star shone brightly in the science world he never won a Nobel Prize. However, the 76-year old was more than a fierce intellectual, unbound by a terminal disease that ravaged his body. In remembrances his colleagues have recounted his sense of humor, which no doubt made him relatable to those who viewed him in television ships or read his books.

    The father of three made black holes not only interesting but understandable. He taught us not only was it acceptable to change his mind, after contradicting a basic law of quantum mechanics, but to own the reversal of belief.

    The Englishman taught us not to fear the future when, two years after the theoretical physicist was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis he married his college sweetheart, Jane Wilde.

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    Hawking taught us that slumping grades don’t preclude scholastic or other achievements. Rather encouragement and exploration of an interest should be actively encouraged and acted upon. He believed high-level physics should be accessible to everyone.

    "At school, I was never more than about halfway up the class. It was a very bright class. My classwork was very untidy, and my handwriting was the despair of my teachers. But my classmates gave me the nickname Einstein, so presumably they saw signs of something better. When I was twelve, one of my friends bet another friend a bag of sweets that I would never come to anything. I don't know if this bet was ever settled, and if so, which way it was decided."

    From the lecture My Brief History, 2010

    Hawking was born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death. He died on the same date Albert Einstein was born. Which begs the question, is the next brilliant mind born today?