Five Facts About Stephen Hawking: Visionary physicist dies aged 76 - New Gersy

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Five Facts About Stephen Hawking: Visionary physicist dies aged 76





Stephen Hawking, an award-winning physicist and influential author, died early Wednesday morning, a family spokesman told ABC News. He was 76.




Hawking, whose books included "A Brief History of Time" and "The Universe in a Nutshell," was diagnosed in 1962 with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly called ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, his family said.

The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.

At the age of 22 Prof Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease.




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The illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.


In a statement his children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said: "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.

"He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years."

They praised his "courage and persistence" and said his "brilliance and humour" inspired people across the world.

"He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever."

A book of condolence is due to be opened at Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge, where Prof Hawking was a fellow.




Prof Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics.

He also discovered that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing - a phenomenon that would later become known as Hawking radiation.


The family did not disclose the cause of death, but said he “died peacefully” at his home in Cambridge, England.

"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years," the family said in a statement. 

"His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world. He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever."



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Through his work with mathematician Sir Roger Penrose he demonstrated that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity implies space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes.

The scientist gained popularity outside the academic world and appeared in several TV shows including The Simpsons, Red Dwarf and The Big Bang Theory.



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