British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking died Wednesday at the age of 76, his children said in a statement.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of our beloved father today.” “He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work will still live for many years,” wrote his children Lucy, Robert and Tim in this text published by the British agency Press Association.
A brief history of a genius
Nailed in a chair and speaking through a computer, Stephen Hawking devoted his life to unlock the secrets of the universe and popularize astrophysics, to the point of becoming a star.
“I’m sure my disability has something to do with my celebrity. People are fascinated by the contrast between my very limited physical abilities and the extremely wide nature of the universe I’m studying, “said the world’s most famous contemporary scientist.
Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford on January 8, 1942, 300 years to the day after Galileo’s death.
His father, a biologist, wants him to follow his steps by studying medicine in Oxford. But young Stephen has already taken a passion for mathematics. This subject is not taught in the prestigious university, he opts for physics.
After three years, he left for Cambridge to pursue research in astronomy.
Shortly after his 21st birthday, he learns that he suffers from paralytic degenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Charcot’s disease.
Doctors give him only two years to live. Not even knowing if he will be able to complete his doctoral thesis, he is plunged into a deep depression, from which he only comes out thanks to his meeting with a linguistics student, Jane Wilde, whom he married in 1965.
The couple, who divorced 30 years later, will have three children. Stephen Hawking will marry Elaine Mason for the second time, after eleven years in 2006.
His body declines inexorably. In 1974, he was unable to feed himself or get out of bed on his own. In 1985, he definitively lost the use of speech after undergoing tracheotomy following pneumonia.
January 8, 1942: Birth in Oxford.
1962: Holder of a physics degree from the University of Oxford, he began studying astronomy at Cambridge and published in 1966 his thesis on “the properties of expanding universes”.
1964: he learns that he suffers from a paralyzing degenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Charcot’s disease
1965: marries Jane Wilde, whom he divorced in 1995 to marry Elaine Mason
1974: he becomes the youngest member of the Royal Society, the prestigious British Academy of Sciences
1979: appointed professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a chair that he will occupy for 30 years
1985: Stephen Hawking permanently loses the use of the speech after having undergone tracheotomy following pneumonia. It will now communicate via a dialer and a speech synthesizer.
1988: publishes “a brief history of time”, a book of popular science in which he explains the greatest principles of cosmology. The book will send several millions of copies.
2007: he flies in weightlessness aboard a specially designed aircraft
2014: Release of the biography A marvelous history of the time ( The theory of everything ) directed by James Marsh, which is worth the oscar of the best actor to Eddie Redmayne.