Celebrated British physicist-cosmologist Stephen Hawking died on March 14. He was 76 years old. Since the news of his death broke out, people started pouring in their respect by posting his pictures, quotes and stories on the social media.
During his lifetime he did pathbreaking research on black holes and relativity and wrote several popular science books including “A Brief History of Time”.
When Hawking was just 22 years old, he was diagnosed with a rare kind of motor neuron disease. The illness left him in a wheelchair and he was unable to speak except through a voice synthesizer. However, it didn’t stop him from becoming one of the greatest scientists in the world.
Hawking visited India twice, first in 1959 and then again in January 2001. He was invited to India in 2001 to attend ‘Strings 2001’ international conference on string theory in Mumbai. During his second visit to the country, he mentioned specifically that India has changed dramatically since 1959.
Hawking was one of the 300 scientists across the globe, who were invited to attend the event. During the event, he with other researchers discussed the origin of the Universe. Hawking and two others scientists were then awarded the first Sarojini Damodaran Fellowship by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He also traveled across the Mumbai city in a specially designed vehicle from Mahindra & Mahindra.
During his short meeting with the then President KR Narayanan at Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi, Hawking mentioned, “Indians are so good at mathematics and physics.”
He was indeed a great scientist and an extraordinary man, whose legacy will keep illuminating the world for a long time.