Remembering Stephen Hawking

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Early this morning, Stephen Hawking passed away at the age of 76. While 76 doesn’t seem all that impressive with many living past 100 in this day and age — for Hawking, it was simply remarkable.

Stephen Hawking was born on Jan. 8, 1942 in Oxford, England. He grew up in London, and attended both Oxford and Cambridge. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) when he was 21 years old, and at the time of his diagnosis, doctors gave him just two years to live. With a terminal diagnosis, Hawking set out to learn all he could about the universe. He battled through the disease to become one of the most well-known and well-respected phycisists of our time.

MORE: Explaining the progression of ALS

Hawking wrote several books, but his most famous is A Brief History of Time, which became an “unlikely bestseller” due to its highly scientific subject matter. He appeared on several TV shows (including Star Trek: The Next Generation!), and received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and both the Albert Einstein Award and Medal.

Schools all over the world honored Hawking with degrees and awards for his groundbreaking research and scientific discoveries. But his most dedicated audience may have been the ALS community — he provided hope that patients could defy the odds, beat their prognosis and live a long and fulfilling life with ALS.

MORE: Prof. Stephen Hawking receives “Beacon Of Courage And Dedication Award” from Society for Brain Mapping & Therapeutics

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