Stephen Hawking Overcame ALS and Revolutionized Physics

Stephen Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England. By the age of 21, he was studying cosmology at the University of Cambridge when he was diagnosed with ALS.

Over his lifetime, Hawking wrote 15 books and his life was captured in the film ‘‘The Theory of Everything” in 2014. He thought time travel was possible and explained it in his book “A Brief History of Time.” In 1988, Hawking became famous around the world when his book was published. In the book he explained cosmology, but it was difficult to understand for many, so he wrote “The Universe in a Nutshell” in 2001, which was translated into 40 languages.

Hawking was diagnosed with a disease called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). He started to notice his symptoms when he would fall and trip during his lectures and started slurring his speech. In 1963, Hawking looked into the disease after his father noticed his changes. He got X-rays and other tests and was diagnosed with early stage ALS at the age of 21.

In 1985, he lost his voice and a computer programmer in California developed a program that Hawking could control with eye and head movements to communicate. As his disease got worse, another program was developed to help him communicate using a computer that interpreted the movement of his cheek muscles. At the time he was diagnosed, he was given two and a half years to live but he lived for 50 years. He passed away at the age of 76 in bed at his home in Cambridge, England on pi day, March 14, 2018.

Stephen Hawking was a resilient and hardworking man, whose ground-breaking work with black holes and relativity made a huge contribution to the world.