Fans and colleagues marked the death of renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, remembering the impact the scientist made, both on human understanding and on worldwide popular culture.
Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar portraying Hawking in 2015’s “The Theory of Everything,” said the following in a statement to TheWrap: “We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet. My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family.”
Hawking died at the age of 76, bringing a close a lengthy career dedicated to understanding the vast workings of the universe. His scientific insights covered myriad fascinating subjects, including quantum mechanics, time travel, the birth and death of the universe, and black holes.
But as much a part of Hawking’s fame as his incredible brilliance was his ability to convey knowledge and understanding to others. His 1988 bestselling book “A Brief History of Time” worked to convey the science of cosmology to people with no background with the complex subject. He would go on to publish numerous popular science books throughout his career, all of which helped spark an interest and passion for science in readers.
Hawking made a massive impact on the world all while dealing with the effects of the neuro-degenerative disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). When he was diagnosed at 21, in 1963, doctors gave him only a few years to live.
But though Hawking’s body suffered, his incredible mind did not. He defied his disease, which mostly paralyzed him and kept him wheelchair-bound for most of his life, and doctors’ expectations.
He contributed to humanity’s understanding of the universe in incredible ways — both through his theories, and through his work as an author. Hawking used his celebrity to share inspire people to look out at the universe and to try to understand what they saw there.
Colleagues and fans took to Twitter to remember Hawking and reflect on his incredible impact on the world, sharing the quotes, discoveries and ideas that have made the scientist such a huge part of culture.
His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it's not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018. pic.twitter.com/nAanMySqkt
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 14, 2018
— The Big Bang Theory (@bigbangtheory) March 14, 2018
Farewell Stephen Hawking. A great man. Honored to have spent time with him. RIP.
— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) March 14, 2018
Our world has lost a shining light. Stephen Hawking defied expectation. Blessed with a brilliant mind and uncommon grace, he opened so many minds to the wonders of our universe. Courageous and unbowed by adversity, he believed deeply in the power reason. May he rest in peace.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) March 14, 2018
Key discoveries made by #StephenHawking, a thread:
-1970: discovers using quantum theory and general relativity, you can show that black holes can emit radiation
-1973: Publishes journal on Hawking radiation, the theory that black holes could leak energy and particles into space
— Nerdist (@nerdist) March 14, 2018
RIP Stephen Hawking. Genuinely very sad to hear that. If you haven’t, read A Brief History of Time. It’ll make the world feel more amazing and beautiful and strange. It’ll also make you feel smart and stupid all at once.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) March 14, 2018
R.I.P. Stephen Hawking. Among his many profound contributions to this world was this simple sentiment: “It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.”
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) March 14, 2018
Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS at 21 & given just 2 years to live. Not only did he defy the odds for 52 years, even as his body failed him, his mind soared. I hope his meeting with the Universe was beyond even his wildest imagining. ????
— Caissie St.Onge (@Caissie) March 14, 2018
Nooo! I'm so so sad to see the news about Stephen Hawking, and at the same time I imagine him learning something new for the last time, and smiling, and I know that the world was richer with him in it. https://t.co/9yPiZvcyL9
— Adam Savage (@donttrythis) March 14, 2018
Cheers to you Stephen Hawking, the greatest mental athlete of our time. You are all that is! See you around, buddy! ;^) pic.twitter.com/LEqYnFn2rW
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) March 14, 2018
I just heard about Stephen Hawking's passing. He was both a genius and my favorite Simpsons character. We'll miss you, buddy.
— Macaulay Culkin (@IncredibleCulk) March 14, 2018
I just read about the passing of #StephenHawking and I feel like we’ve lost something so tremendous it can never be replaced.
— Justin Guarini (@JustinGuarini) March 14, 2018
Stephen Hawking was always one of those “pillar people” in life. Not as ephemeral as a celebrity or a politician. Someone who seemed eternal; you assumed he existed before and after you. And in a way, he absolutely will.
— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) March 14, 2018
Over billions and billions of years of accidents and reactions, the universe managed create the brilliant mind of Stephen Hawking, and in turn he dared to understand the universe. Back to the stars, Mr. Hawking.
— Nick HurWITCH HUNT! (@heWIZARD) March 14, 2018
— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) March 14, 2018
Farewell to Stephen Hawking, the most intelligent guest star in the brief history of The Simpsons pic.twitter.com/po3fIHgEdh
— Matt Selman (@mattselman) March 14, 2018
"My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn't prevent you doing well, and don't regret the things it interferes with. Don't be disabled in spirit as well as physically."
Godspeed on your journey to the stars. #StephenHawking ???? ???? ????
— Nancy Sinatra (@NancySinatra) March 14, 2018
We were on earth at the same time as Stephen Hawking.
That's kind of a miraculous thing.
We breathed the same air as the man who demystified the stars.
— Geraldine (@everywhereist) March 14, 2018