Imagine being bound to a wheelchair knowing you will never get up from there, all at the mercy of carers and the only thing that works is your mind.
Where people usually resort to grief, objection or even self destruction in case of petty failures, Stephen Hawking decided to channelize his major biological defeat into the wild horizons of the cosmos.
With the body continually falling to the gravity of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis(ALS) and the moments of life being sucked into the black hole of complications, all he had was the power of his thoughts and an unparalleled drive to find his way to the beginning of time itself.
And he did. Not just that but a lot more.
Let’s have a look at how the man with least abilities, went on to become a man with most achievements.
- One of his greatest achievements was his life itself. How he grappled a fatal form of ALS to live 55 years when medical facts had only predicted a 3 year life span post diagnosis.
- Hawking Radiations – Stephen Hawking proved that given the Quantum nature of particles, it cannot be said that the black hole traps everything. They emit radiations and particles. This emission can possibly continue until the black hole evaporates. These radiations became known as Hawking Radiations.
- Creation of the universe – Applying the concepts of Quantum physics and general relativity he proved that the Universe was created due to the explosion of singularity trapped in an infinetly small space and that no creator was involved in the process. This theory was widely accepted and also helped scrutinize the behaviour of black holes and furthermore the nature of the universe.
- An international Best seller– The most complicated concepts of physics are served to the readers with utmost clarity and lucidity in his Book “A Brief History of Time”. The book sold out over 10 million copies and was translated to 40 languages. The media called him, The Master of Universe.
In addition he published several other books which did gain a lot of attention. Black Holes and Baby Universes and other essays (1993), The Universe in a Nutshell(2001), On the shoulder of the Giants (2002) and God created the integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs that changes History (2005)
- Singularity– With the aid of English mathematician and physicist Roger Penrose, Hawking proved that the universe was a infinitely small seed of singularity which exploded to become the vastness that it is today.
A gravitational singularity is boundless energy and mass trapped inside an infinitely small space, within which the forces and laws of physics cease to behave normal as everything becomes a function of infinity.
- Mechanics of Black Holes – Alongside James Bardeen and Brandon Carter Hawking discovered the four laws of black hole mechanics. These laws comprehend the behavior of the physical properties of the Black holes like mass, charge, entropy, surface area etc. these laws are analogous to the Laws of Thermodynamics.
- Cosmic Inflation –Cosmic inflation was a theory proposed by Alan Guth in 1980 which proposed the exponential expansion of the universe following the big bang and later settled to a slower expansion. Hawking calculated Quantum fluctuations resulting from cosmic inflation to demonstrate how they are capable of giving rise to spread of galaxies in the universe.
- The time when there was no time – In 1983 Alongside James Hartle, Stephen Hawking suggested a model of the formation of universe where in he concluded from the behavior of particles as per Quantum physics that time did not exist before the genesis of the universe.
- Top-down cosmology – The universe according to Stephen Hawking’s theory of top-down cosmology(2006) had not just one but many possible initial conditions. Thomas Hertog who was a co-researcher in this study had a strong argument to believe that.
In the words of Hertog – “Quantum mechanics forbids a single theory”. Both Hawking and Hertog, believed that the concept of innumerable alternate worlds as put forward in famous string theory has strong grounds.
- Zero G Flight – The then 65 year old man with ALS, glued to a wheelchair, had a lifelong dream of breaking free from the confinement. And owing to the efforts of serial entrepreneur Peter Diamandis Hawking did experience a freedom like never before. On April 26, 2007, Diamandis’ Zero G team successfully executed Hawking’s zero gravity flight.
Hawking’s spirit to go ahead with the adventure inspite of the risks posed, blazed a trail many others.
He believed his physical disability had only freed his mind to explore the deepest secrets of the Universe.
Studying the truths of universe to him was more of a thrill rather than a motivation to win recognition and medals.
He once said “I don’t think the human beings have the moral obligation to learn about space. But it would be foolish and shortsighted not to do so. It may hold the key to our survival.”
He spent his entire life diving deep into mysteries of cosmology, poaching innumerable gems and romanticizing the concept of our existence.
As long as he lived, he marveled over the grand design of the universe. And now as the star scientist finds his way to the end of his time all we are left with is the knowledge he gave us, with a hope that the legacy of extrapolation and invention will continue until time is.