Groundbreaking physicist, author Stephen Hawking dies at 76

By Ashley Williams, AccuWeather staff writer
March 15, 2018, 9:08:40 AM EDT

World-renowned physicist and best-selling author Professor Stephen Hawking, known for his work in modern cosmology, has died at the age of 76.

His children released a statement announcing his passing, which said: “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years," according to the BBC.

The author of 1988's “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes,” which has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, is widely regarded as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists in history.

Stephen Hawking - AP Photo

In this March 30, 2015 file photo, Professor Stephen Hawking arrives for the Interstellar Live show at the Royal Albert Hall in central London. Hawking, whose brilliant mind ranged across time and space though his body was paralyzed by disease, has died, a family spokesman said early Wednesday, March 14, 2018. (AP Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision, File)

Hawking left a profound impact on many scientists, including Dr. Raymond Laflamme, executive director of the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.

“We thank Professor Hawking for his impactful contributions to theoretical physics,” said Laflamme, who earned his doctorate at the University of Cambridge under Hawking’s supervision.

“He was an incredible scientist who has changed the way we think about the universe,” he said. “His work will continue to inspire scientists all over the world, and generations for years to come.”

“Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world,” City University of New York theoretical physics professor Michio Kaku told the New York Times.

Throughout his career, Hawking made numerous important contributions to the understanding of the universe in fields including cosmology, quantum gravity and general relativity.

He and mathematician Sir Roger Penrose worked together to show that Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity suggests that space and time began at the birth of the universe, known as the Big Bang, and ends within black holes, according to

He showed that quantum effects allow black holes to emit black body radiation, which is referred to as Hawking radiation.

Hawking was once quoted as saying, “My goal is simple; it is complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all,” according to the Washington Post.

Stephen Hawking announces the Starshot Project
Star's death spiral into a black hole
Cosmic dawn: Astronomers find fingerprints of universe's first stars

Hawking’s passing evoked an outpouring of condolences on social media, including from celebrities, scientists and fans of his work.

Educated at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21.

Given only approximately two years to live following his diagnosis with the debilitating illness, the celebrated scientist defied odds and went on to attain his Ph.D, write 15 books and contribute valuable knowledge to physics.

An Academy Award-winning film based on his life, titled "The Theory of Everything," was released in 2014.

Report a Typo


Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News