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Sad news, the pioneering physicist Stephen Hawking has died.
His death should come as no surprise, having long-outlived the predictions made my his doctors when he first showed symptoms of a nasty motor-neurone disorder during his 20's. Indeed, that he reached the age of 76 boggles the mind when you consider that few with his condition live more than a decade or so after diagnosis. Hawking himself was only expected to live a couple of years from that point.
There can be little doubt that Hawking made significant contributions to our understanding of the universe around us and that he will be sorely missed, both within the scientific community and outside it.
Although his hypothesis were not always right, he was someone whose insight into the nature of the universe advanced that area of science by an enormous amount in the few short decades he lived.
Of course he wasn't just a star in the world of science, he also appeared playing himself in a number of popular TV series, such as The Big Bang Theory and The Simpsons. It is very seldom anyone manages to span that divide!
As the effects of his affliction took hold, Hawking's biggest problem must surely have been that of communication.
Although he made good use of the retro speech synthesis device which has become part of his iconic image, the speed at which he was able to relate his thoughts and feelings must have been intensely frustrating for someone with such an active mind.
I can't help but wonder however, whether the increasingly cocooned existence in which his mind operated, may have enhanced his powers of concentration and application to the tasks before him.
He is however, a powerful symbol of exactly what a human being can do, regardless of the hurdles that life place in their way.
That one man could turn the mountain that was his disability into a platform with which to stand head-and-shoulders above the rest must be inspirational to anyone who finds themselves facing similar handicaps.
It's very easy to say that "life is what you make it" but Stephen Hawking proved this to be the truth.
So, hats-off in memory of Mr Hawking, not only for what he achieved, but also for the way in which he achieved it.
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