Stephen Hawking’s life is remarkable in many ways. Firstly, because he is a brilliant physicist and has made groundbreaking discoveries regarding the cosmos, black holes and other unexplored aspects of the universe we live in. Secondly, he has survived motor neurone disease (ALS) which was diagnosed when he was 21 years old. He was told he had a few years to live and now, at the age of 73, he is still alive and as mentally active as ever. He has been immobilized since his twenties and then lost the power of speech which means that he now speaks via a computerized synthesizer.
Here are some lesser known facts about Stephen Hawking you may not be aware of. He was born on Jan 8th in 1942 which was the 300th anniversary of the death of Galileo. At school, he only managed to get average grades. He was curious about how clocks worked and regularly took them to pieces but was not very good at reassembling them!
His studies at Oxford were disturbed by his rowing practice which occupied six afternoons a week. He was the coxswain who steered the boat and kept the rowers safe. The only problem was that his studies suffered and he admitted that he had to cut some corners to pass his exams!
His studies and research brought him countless and prizes. It is interesting to know that he held the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for 30 years. Isaac Newton held the same position way back in 1669.
Hawking’s relationship with his wife Jane is movingly portrayed in the film The Theory of Everything. When asked what he thought of the film, Hawking replied that there was not enough science in it while his ex wife thought that there was not enough emotion.
Stephen Hawking’s life is an astonishing story of a man who faced enormous odds and went on to become one of the world’s most famous scientists.. Here are 20 of his most famous quotes which will inspire you when you get discouraged.
“I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”
“The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognized. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away.”
“Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”
“Aggression, humanity’s greatest vice, will destroy civilization.”
“My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.”
“People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.”
“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”
“It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years.”
“So next time someone complains that you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.”
“We are all different, but we share the same human spirit. Perhaps it’s human nature that we adapt and survive.”
“If I had to choose a superhero to be, I would pick Superman. He’s everything that I’m not.”
“I am just a child who has never grown up. I still keep asking these ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. Occasionally, I find an answer.”
“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.”
“Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious, and however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
“It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven’t done badly. People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”
“We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.”
“Some people would claim that things like love, joy and beauty belong to a different category from science and can’t be described in scientific terms, but I think they can now be explained by the theory of evolution.”
“Keeping an active mind has been vital to my survival, as has been maintaining a sense of humor.”
“I have so much that I want to do. I hate wasting time.”
Featured photo credit: Stephen Hawking in front of sun with coronal mass ejections/ Lwp Kommunikacio via flickr.com