Daily Illuminator

March 15, 2018: Dr. Stephen Hawking

Dr. Stephen Hawking has died.

It seems impossible that anyone reading this might not know who Dr. Hawking is and what he has meant to the world of science over the last half century. The number and scope of his discoveries cannot adequately be summarized in this space, but his work revolutionized the fields of cosmology and astrophysics, among others. Dr. Hawking was also a highly skilled writer and spokesperson; A Brief History of Time is still considered a classic book about science, making highly abstruse concepts accessible, even entertaining. Dr. Hawking also has the rare distinction of portraying himself on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Perhaps most astonishingly, he did all this while enduring the extreme degeneration caused by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called motor neuron disease. Dr. Hawking was diagnosed with ALS at age 21 and given two years to live. We're fortunate that this diagnosis was so very wrong. Stephen Hawking died Wednesday at age 76.

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