When Stephen Hawking was 12 years old, one of his friends bet another child a bag of sweets that Stephen Hawking would never amount to anything. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who was on the losing side of that bet. Though Hawking certainly was a genius, he gave the following reply when he was asked for his IQ: “I have no idea. People who boast about their IQ are losers.”
Stephen Hawking was a young man in his early twenties when he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. Doctors told him he only had about 2-3 years left to live but he smashed the odds by surviving and thriving for 54 more years. He made several remarkable discoveries, even redefining the way blackholes are viewed. Before he developed motor neuron disease, he was bored with life and wasn’t motivated to fully focus on his studies and his work, but when he found out that didn’t have much time left to live, he felt compelled to make every moment count.
Stephen Hawking was a master of unravelling the secrets of the universe. He used quantum theory to explain that black holes are not actually black but they emit heat and slowly vanish. This theory, now known as Hawking Radiation, went against classical physics, which stated black holes could not radiate heat. Hawking also proposed the idea that the nature of the universe is governed by a set of laws and called this idea ‘The Theory of Everything’. He claimed these laws explain timeless questions such as, “How did the universe begin, and does it have an end?”
As Stephen Hawking takes his place in the cosmos, let us remember the following words of his, which can guide our own lives:
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
Author: Rohan Parekh