“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” Stephen Hawking.
14th March 2018, will be a day etched in the minds of millions of us. Wednesday morning started with the news of the demise of the legendary cosmologist, Stephen Hawking. For someone who at 21 was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), his was a journey against time, beating all odds. He had the ability to adapt to changing situations. Hawking liked to say that he was born 300 years to the day after Galileo died. Stephen Hawking died on Wednesday, 139 years after Albert Einstein was born.This was a fitting bookend.
Stephen Hawking Taught Us How To Live
Nicknamed Einstein in his school days, Stephen considered this was media hype, driven by the public’s thirst for heroes. For his fans, students and even his critics, Stephen Hawking was, in fact, an Einsteinian. He was their hero, not only for the topics he taught and the research he carried out but moreover, he was a hero for he taught us how to live.
There will be debates on the works of Stephen Hawking. However, all will agree that he was a man who revolutionized imaginations. For those who didn’t know about him, Stephen Hawking was ‘the wheelchair guy’ in the words of Homer Simpson. Despite being slowly paralyzed by Lou Gehrig’s disease, to the point where he could move only an eyeball, Hawking roamed across the world, or let’s say, the universe. He was an avid reader and writer of some of the world’s best sellers, a complete family man and a professor who nurtured generations of graduates.
To scientists, however, the wheelchair guy will always be remembered for his research on gravity. His works on gravity resulted in placing Dr. Hawking as an icon of mystery and curiosity and determination to understand the universe.
He was not just a slow learner like Einstein, who would never leave once he had seized on some question, but Dr. Hawking was said to be legendary, even irritatingly stubborn. Dr. Hawking rose to fame for his research on general relativity and black holes.
Stephen Hawking: The whistleblower
However, he was someone who would often venture out of his area of research and highlight what he saw as the great challenges and existential threats for humanity in the coming decades. Some of Stephen Hawking’s remarks sparked headlines in the media and at times were even considered controversial.
Dr. Hawking was bothered about the exploitation of the resources on the earth. It was for years that he had been calling for humans to begin the process of permanently settling other planets. It made news headlines again and again. Hawking was of the opinion that the entire human race will fall victim to a catastrophe of extinction in the coming time. He was worried about the so-called low-probability, high impact events, such as a large asteroid striking our planet. However, Stephen Hawking was ferociously vocal about the other potential threats: artificial intelligence, climate change, GM viruses and nuclear war to name a few.
The great physicist regarded global warming as one of the biggest threats to life on the planet. He was concerned about humans reaching a so-called tipping point, where global warming would become irreversible. He also expressed concern about America’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
It was Dr. Hawking’s intuition and wicked sense of humor apart from his fierce intellect that made him stand out, which, coupled with his illness, came to symbolize the unbounded possibilities of the human mind.
Stephen Hawking, and Sir Isaac Newton, the Englishman who founded modern physics, will rest together for eternity, or at least for its practical equivalent: the lifetime of the stones that make up Westminster Abbey in London.
The Abbey announced on Wednesday that Dr. Hawking would be given the ultimate tribute. His ashes will be interred in the Abbey in a ceremony “of Thanksgiving” to be held later this year.