That was the iSmile Report where I paid tribute to Stephen Hawking, by having a (far too brief) look at some of his scientific accomplishments.
Last week was a sad one for the world, and the science community in particular. Tributes poured in from far and wide when we lost one of humanity’s greatest minds – Stephen Hawking (76).
The cosmologist, theoretical physicist, mathematician, futuristic and all-round thinker dedicated his life to finding the origins of the universe.
He was revered for both his incisive mind, as well as his resilience – living with debilitating Motor Neuron Disease, which bound him to a wheelchair for most of his life.
He was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 21 and a few years later, underwent an emergency tracheostomy, which saved his life, but robbed him of his voice.
Subsequently, the world got to know Hawking as the genius who communicated with the help of a computer attached to a voice synthesizer, which he trademarked and which became iconic in it’s on right.
In a world that idolises celebrity for the sake of celebrity, Professor Stephen Hawking was admired worldwide for all the right reasons, by both the general public and the academic elite.
Of his disability, Hawking had a few things to say over the years: “My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.”
“…concentrate on the things your disability doesn’t prevent you from doing well …. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.”
“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”
Hawking lived his life as fully as he could. The video below was taken in 2007, when he was taken on a zero gravity flight, which he said briefly freed him from the confines of his wheelchair. Just look at that look of pure joy on his face.
Stephen Hawking wasn’t just an intellectual giant, he also possessed a wicked sense of humour, which many credit with having sustained him through his struggle with ALS.
Like his idol Albert Einstein, he adored Marilyn Monroe. So much so that his colleagues organised for a Monroe impersonator to serenade him at his 60th birthday bash.
Stephen also nurtured a fondness for pop culture and starred as himself on a few celebrated TV shows, like The Simpsons, Futurama and The Big Bang Theory.
He also appeared on Star Trek as a hologram of himself playing poker with Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton, the “Father of Physics,” whom Hawking succeeded as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University – a job seen as one of the most prestigious academic posts in the world.
In a classic scene, these three scientific juggernauts are seen playing poker with Star Trek’s super smart robot Data, in the video below.
Hawking died on what would have been Einstein’s 139th birthday. And given his sense of humour, Smile Breakfast decided to imagine an interview with Hawking the morning after the big bash.
Here it is. Listen out for mentions of other party goers Aristotle, Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie and of course Marilyn Monroe. Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury.