“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up”
Sounds like a typical motivational quote, doesn’t it? Well it is. But who it came from is what adds veracity to this one.
This person has a caliber that extends beyond the cosmos but imprisoned in a static body. He has a mind that keeps speculating and wandering over the universe yet with a face that reflects contemplation. He has given us an overall sense to the birth of the universe while he is combating his own death.
He is Professor Stephen William Hawking, cosmologist, theoretical physicist, author of a best-selling book and former professor of mathematics at Cambridge university. He has been a victim of a slow-progressing, paralyzing motor neurone disease since his young age of 21 when he was given two years to live. But I would say, his fierce willpower, his quest for knowledge and curiosity to unravel the mysteries of the universe have given him the power to combat death even at the age of 75.
“I’m not afraid of death but I’m in no hurry to die” he said, something we don’t usually expect from a 75-year-old person suffering from a life-threatening disease.
Born in 1942 in a family that placed high value on education, Hawking pursued physics at the University college, Oxford. A first-class honour degree in his UG earned him the opportunity to be a doctoral student in cosmology, at the University of Cambridge. While he was at Cambridge, his health conditions started to decline and he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease with just two years to live. Even after this, it is just so astonishing to note that Hawking found the courage to pull himself up and continue with his research work. Hawking’s health conditions deteriorated gradually. It started from using crutches to walk and slurred speech, to the current state where he is completely wheelchair-bound and communicates through a speech-generating device that deciphers from the movement of his cheek muscle. Yet, the illness did not stop him from acquiring over a dozen honorary degrees after his Ph.D. He is continuing his research work, actively publishing papers and gives public lectures. His scientific works are predominantly on the Big Bang and Black holes (he stated that black hole continuously emits radiation, often known as Hawking radiation and eventually disappears). He has authored around seven books which includes “A brief history of time” which was on the best-seller list for more than five years. He has also co-authored a few and currently works on a children thriller series along with his daughter Lucy Hawking. The illness had devastating effects on his family as well as career but did not deter him from getting up and working towards his dreams. He still hopes to go to space one day!
I staunchly believe that he’s an inspiration to not just aspiring scientists, but to every human being in a way that no catastrophe could impede his expedition of following his passion. The divine smile he puts up even now is a ray of hope for every one of us when life seems difficult.
I just happened to stumble upon his TED talk and became his fan then on. It was so heartening to watch him address the biggest mysteries of the universe in the most placid way possible.
Link to his TEDtalk :