Renowned British physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking died today. He was 76.
Hawking had a rare early-onset slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease, that gradually paralysed him over the decades. The diagnosis of his disease came when Hawking was 21 years old, in 1963.
The theoretical physicist had thirteen honorary degrees, says a biography on his web site. He was awarded the CBE (1982), Companion of Honour (1989) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009). He was also the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, most notably the Fundamental Physics prize (2013), Copley Medal (2006) and the Wolf Foundation prize (1988). He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Related: His popular interview
Hawking’s many publications include The Large Scale Structure of Spacetime with G F R Ellis, General Relativity: An Einstein Centenary Survey, with W Israel, and 300 Years of Gravitation, with W Israel. Among the popular books Hawking wrote are his best seller A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, The Universe in a Nutshell, The Grand Design and My Brief History.
The theoretical physicist was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England. He attended University College, Ocford, where he studied physics, despite his father’s urging to focus on medicine. He wanted to study mathematics but it wasn’t available at University College.