"Whereas the rest of the animals were looking downwards at the ground, he gave humans a raised face and ordered them to look toward the skies and lift up their erect head to the stars."
In "Metamorphoses" by Ovid
When Dr. Hawking's body started to fail him he said that one of the things he was challenged with was being unable to work out his formulas on a blackboard. He had to do them in his head instead.'fancy graphics and technology'? He was a physicist and mathematician. He had his brain. Very few of us can conceive of what that would be like.
I am humbled when I think of what this incredible human being achieved in his brief moment in time. He did not let the adversity of his infirmity detract from an incredible mind. He used his static position to explore the universe and bring the infinity of potential scientific knowledge to us mere mortals. He leaves an amazing legacy for the scientists of the future. And he showed that whatever comes our way, we all have something amazing to offer. As much as I beginning to admire Dr. Neil De Grasse Tyson (Saw Stephen Hawking on " Star Talk " with Neil Degrasse Tyson couple of weeks ago, the professor was very sharp and very informative), Dr. Hawking was one of the modern epitomes of the Theoretical Physicist (the other one is Roger Penrose). Hawking definitely believed his disability helped him mentally picture abstract ideas. How incredible to live to the age he did and what an extraordinary life. His cameo performances in the "Big Bang Theory" showed his sense of humour and took him to a younger generation of whom my daughters and son were one of them. Talking about multi-dimensional universes took the theory into possibilities rather than the pseudo-science it had always been dismissed as such. He was a definition of genius yet in his own universe he was a pupil looking curiously at the great design of the universe till the end of his last breath. It was curiosity to find reason behind a marvel that prompted him to go deep in sea of knowledge. All of his body was still as statue except upper important organ of human body that as his brain which gave us new dimensions, views and secrets of the universe, nature and stars!!!! But what makes Hawking a magician is a rare quality of him to dive in this universe which he has explored with the masses!!! He is solely responsible figure in modern times to bring science and especially cosmology to us! During the 80's people would buy and put "The Brief History of Time" in the home library without understanding; just to show-off that they did read Hawking! He was such genius who has made special space for science in the houses. Along with this, how can we forget to discuss his work which is a classic in itself? Even the name of his PhD thesis shows his mastery over a difficult questions of his time which is "the properties of expanding universe". Later on there was not a subject on cosmology that was left behind by Hawking like birth and death of black holes, possibilities beyond black holes, on the death and origin of our universe! Like millions of minds Hawking was also responsible to increase my interest in science through his famous discovery channel documentaries on questions of the universe titled as "Into the universe with Stephen Hawking". Today that man has died. And I am happy with this life who had given him and us such beautiful brain to shape us.
Everyone has the capability to find something in life that's worth living for. That doesn't mean people who don't are somehow weaker, or that they are failing, just that they have unfortunately been unable to find that thing. I my view, love is the thing that makes life always worth living, and I don't believe at all it was Hawking's exceptional mind that made life worth living. I think it was his exceptional love for science and the fact that he was still able to live for this love that meant his life continued to be one that is worthwhile. Love is not something that is inaccessible to those of us who are normal or not exceptional, love is something anyone can find in a myriad of different ways, but at the same time it can of course be nigh on impossible to see through the said despair. So unfortunately, not everyone finds a reason to live, but I still believe it means anyone can.
A personal note for what's worth. Hawking was one of the persons that made me believe there's God, as impossible as it may seem coming from an atheist Theoretical Physicist. He made me believe there's no way atheism stands up to any kind of scrutiny. Relativity demonstrates how space and time are observation dependent. Quantum mechanics demonstrates how our universe (a concrete noun) is built by abstract nouns. Abstract nouns are ideas and ideas don't "exist" without some thinker that is thinking of them. Every particle in the standard model, regardless of whether they are virtual or real particles are abstract nouns. This can be demonstrated by the double slit experiments. These particles are statements of probability until the observer changes their state of probability into a state of actuality. This implies that if we could eliminate all observers there won't be an actual universe. Obviously we cannot demonstrate that but atheism is based on the philosophical monism of materialism. Materialism cannot stand without local realism, non-local realism or naive realism being tenable. The violation of Bell's inequality renders local realism untenable and we, no doubt, know the rest. Religious believers have the satisfaction of thinking that their consciousness will be around to see themselves proven correct. Atheists believe that Stephen Hawking's consciousness is in the same place it was before he was conceived. Non-existence. That belief holds nothing to fear. There were nearly 14 billion years before he popped into existence, made the world a better place and increased our understanding of the universe. To each his or her own.
It's amazing how a death of someone you don't know and have never met can still hit you. The guy was amazing in so many different ways. He understood things in a way most of us never will. Where many people would have given up on life battling those illnesses, Hawking continued on and adapted to continue learning and finding out new things. And among all this he still had the time and kindness to contribute to things like "The Big Bang Theory" on a few occasions where we've seen some fantastic humour from him.
How long until he is again "among" us...?
- 9 years to track down and debate all of the greatest minds from the dawn of time;
- 9 months of first hand studies on black holes, stellar phenomena, dark matter, worm holes, time travel, parallel dimensions, and the sub-subatomic intricacies of the multiverse;
- 1 month cataloging alien civilizations that may try to wipe out humanity and sabotaging their efforts;
- 1 month to locate the supreme AI in our galaxy, subdue it, make it his pet and name it Ezrium, and reconfigure it to prevent an Earth based AI from destroying all of the carbon units;
- 10 days to write his new book "The Mysteries of Other Side. I was wrong, so what?";
- 10 days to debug the human genome, upgrade it and design a new corporeal biological domicile for his return;
- 9 days to rest, relax, reflect and drink copious amounts of space beer on the sun drenched beaches of New Paleokastritsa which orbits the distant star Tau Ceti;
- 90 hours to study ancient Vedic knowledge, improve it, break the law of death and return to the land of the living.
I'd say RIP but I think he’ll not be resting but questioning and challenging. Good luck over in spacetime.
NB: In 2016 I had the fortune to be able to get my hands on his Reith Lectures. What a frigging book!