Stephen Hawking dies, leaves discoveries in his wake

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The world-famous British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who died on Wednesday at the age of 76, was known as much for his profound and witty comments as his scientific discoveries. When the characters are boasting about their I.Q.s, in comes Hawking saying in his signature computerised tone, "Big deal, my I.Q.is 280". At least, I'm disabled - even though I'm not a genius like Einstein.

Hawking was born in Oxford, England, and enrolled at Oxford University at age 17. So, I think, if I was doing an assembly, this is what I'd say - accompanied by PowerPoint with lots of pictures to illustrate. It was the same post that Isaac Newton held.

Hawking was a popular figure in pop culture, and he gained fame for his work with black holes and relativity.

"Actually, the last time I saw him at his 75th birthday party, he was talking about the new gravitational wave experiment where we've seen the collisions of black holes, and speculating that those results might be able to prove some of his theorems once and for all".

In 1997, PC chipmaker Intel Corp stepped in to improve Hawking's computer-based communication system, and in 2014 it upgraded the technology to make it faster and easier for Prof Hawking to communicate. "Work gives you meaning and objective, and life is empty without it", Hawking reminded them at the time.

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The concept that stuff, radiation, comes out of black holes may have upset science fiction authors, but it inspired young scientists such as Tyson, who described it as "spooky profound".

His sense of adventure was also still intact, he said. "There are certain types of idealized black holes that you can construct in string-theory models, and there, it's quite clear that there's no loss of information". Undeterred and facing the prospect of an early death, Hawking went on to Cambridge to become a brilliant researcher and Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College where his tenacity and reluctance to give in to his condition, spurred him on toward many intellectual breakthroughs. At the time, I thought my life was over and that I would never realise the potential I felt I had. "Your theory of a donut shaped universe is intriguing, Homer". That theory got its kick-start at a conference Hawking hosted in 1982 with a dinner party and croquet match, Turner said. He has many quotes indicating that it may not turn out well for humans to happen upon aliens.

The bigger story was how the public became fascinated with this small man, stuck in a wheelchair with a worsening disease, and an intellect that few could fathom.

A motor neurone disease (MMD) charity said an influx of donations and visitors to its website following the death of Stephen Hawking caused it to crash as it couldn't cope with the "overwhelming" demand.

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