When he was first diagnosed with the neuromuscular disease that kept him confined to his signature wheelchair, he was told he had but a few years left to live.
Instead, possessed with what his daughter Lucy said was an “inability to accept that there is anything he cannot do,” Stephen Hawking lived another five decades, contributing to scientific breakthroughs and becoming the public face of theoretical physics in a way few others have ever begun to reach.
Hawking died early Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, England, at age 76.
Along with astrophysicist Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking was one of the first wave of those who became known as “science popularizers” - active research scientists who also have a way of explaining the intricacies of science to the public, alongside their infectious joy in learning about the world.
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Now the scientists, colleagues, filmmakers, businesspeople and all those who were inspired by Hawking’s s brilliance and resilience are honoring his extraordinary impact.