Remembering Stephen Hawking and an historic physics conference

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Professor Stephen Hawking reminds me of how fortunate I am and at the same time how inadequate my life is in comparison to his. "I think that it's important for scientists to explain their work, particularly in cosmology", he explained to The Guardian on why he was writing "A Briefer History of Time".

Arguably the most famous physicist in the world, Professor Stephen Hawking was an icon of science and an undeniable champion of the pursuit of knowledge. 'I have so much I want to do first.' And that he did - going on to become one of the greatest physicists of the 21st century. Although the book was hard to understand for many, it did change the world and views. She said she was heartbroken to hear of Hawking's passing.

Fellow actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who also played the physicist in a 2004 BBC TV film, remembered his "wickedly amusing sense of humour".

Perhaps now more than ever, we live in a time during which science and goodness alike are threatened by the powers that be, and very real, risky issues are overlooked and pointedly dismissed.

"It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love". Author of the bestselling 1988 book "A Brief History of Time", he became a symbol of science in pop culture, appearing on shows like "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "The Simpsons". "We can hardly imagine being able to do our work when we can't do those basic things", he said. But now science offers a more convincing explanation.

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"There are many good theoretical physicists who make a big contribution, but there aren't that many greats", he added.

Doctors expected him to live only a few years.

The European Space Agency shared a photo of Prof Hawking in 2007 experiencing zero gravity aboard a plane, alongside a caption which said he "showed us there are no limits to achieving our dreams".

In a world where the norms of human behavior and our definitions for the best and brightest are steadily degrading, as evidenced by the quality of world leaders as well as role models of the youth, losing someone whose life was truly an inspiration can be devastating. "In the 1960s, he demonstrated very general theorems related to the existence of singularities in Einstein's Theory of General Relativity", says Diego Mazzitelli, one of the professors of the Balseiro Institute consulted for this article and who participated in a conference given by Hawking at the International Center for Theoretical Physics. "Black holes ain't as black as they are painted", Hawking quipped. For example, one rare subtype is known as progressive muscular atrophy (PMA), or Duchenne-Aran muscular atrophy, and primarily affects the motor neurons found in the spinal cord but not the brain. He was 76 years old.