Today, the eminent physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking is 70 years old. Dr. Hawking has numerous scientific achievements, making him a household name and a modern icon of the term “genius.” From Dr. Hawking’s website:
Stephen Hawking has worked on the basic laws which govern the universe. With Roger Penrose he showed that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity implied space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes. These results indicated that it was necessary to unify General Relativity with Quantum Theory, the other great Scientific development of the first half of the 20th Century. One consequence of such a unification that he discovered was that black holes should not be completely black, but rather should emit radiation and eventually evaporate and disappear. Another conjecture is that the universe has no edge or boundary in imaginary time. This would imply that the way the universe began was completely determined by the laws of science.
On this particular birthday, I ask you not to focus on Dr. Hawking’s scientific achievements but, instead, on the achievement of his life itself. It was 49 years ago that Dr. Hawking was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Typically, patients diagnosed with ALS have a life expectancy of a handful of years from the onset of symptoms. His survival, despite the odds, is a tribute to his own humanity and will to survive, the support of his friends and family, and the skills of medical and assistive technology experts.
I have always been a great admirer of Dr. Hawking’s work as well as his ability to overcome the obstacles in his life. Please join all of us at GeekDad in wishing Dr. Stephen Hawking a very happy 70th birthday, and many more to come!