A visionary and one of the most influential scientists in history, Stephen Hawking died early this morning. He was also an astronomer, cosmologist, mathematician, and author of numerous articles and books, among them A Brief History of Time, which has sold more than 10 million copies.
His theories have changed how we understand black holes and relativity. But it was how he communicated science in spite of a debilitating disease that impressed and inspired all of us. Diagnosed with Amyotrphic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) shortly after his 21st birthday in 1963, Stephen Hawking defied all the odds and persevered for fifty-five years, well beyond the original prediction of two years.
My favorite quotations from Stephen Hawking…
Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.
The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.
My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.
Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.
People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.
We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.
Not only does God play dice, but… he sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.
However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.
Keeping an active mind has been vital to my survival, as has been maintaining a sense of humor.