Farewell, Stephen Hawking

Perhaps the world’s most celebrated icon of contemporary science, physicist and author Stephen Hawking has died. At 76 years old, Hawking was an anomaly himself—expected to live just a few years after being diagnosed with ALS when he was 21 (while studying cosmology at the University of Cambridge) he went on to have a luminous career that spanned decades. Among his many discoveries, in 1970 he and Roger Penrose applied “the mathematics of black holes to the universe and showed that a singularity, a region of infinite curvature in spacetime, lay in our distant past: the point from which came the big bang”—just one of a succession of insights into black holes. Not only was he a great mind, he made these complicated concepts accessible—in books such as “A Brief History of Time” and the even more user-friendly “The Universe in a Nutshell.” His influence and inspiration are immense legacies not many leave behind. (And if you have never watched his delight experiencing zero gravity on his 65th birthday, you’re missing out.) Read more at The Guardian.