Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet
A On 14 March 2018, the world paid tribute to Professor Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who has died aged 76.
“A star just went out in the cosmos”, says Lawrence M. Krauss, a theoretical physicist and author.
Prof Hawking was a British scientist, professor and author who sought profound answers about the universe. He explored the quantum theory, the properties of black hole and his theories helped shaped modern understanding of how the universe works. As an author, his books helped made science accessible to everybody. He shot to fame after publishing his book - A Brief History of Time, in 1988. He initially wrote the book to share his recent discoveries about the universe. "My original aim was to write a book that would sell on airport bookstalls," he told reporters at the time. "In order to make sure it was understandable I tried the book out on my nurses. I think they understood most of it".
He lived an extraordinary life. In 1963, at the age of 21, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and given two years to live. The two years became five and a half decades.
It was incredible that, he was born 300 years to the day Galileo, an Italian astronomer, died; he also held the same post as Sir Isaac Newton, as the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, which he stepped down in 2009, as holders of the post traditionally step down at the age of 67; and he died on the anniversary of Albert Einstein’s death.
Prof Hawking’s funeral was held in Cambridge on 31st March, and his ashes will be interred close to the remains of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin in Westminster Abbey, London, on 15th June.
If you read our January issue, we shared some of the predictions that Prof Hawking made for the new year, on the future of humanity. "My goal is simple," he once said. "It is complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all." He lived a brilliant life and as Barack Obama tweeted, “Have fun out there among the stars”.
To all the readers of this publication, those interested and those involved in the field of science, continue to do good for the improvement of mankind. Science is driven by society, for the benefit of society and everyone should be involved with that.
Lim Guan Yu
You can reach me at [email protected]