To live more than 50 years after a fatal diagnosis “amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)” – is a great victory and medical miracle. However, it seemed only not that Stephen didn’t pay attention to his disease, but directed all the power of the athlete-rower to a place which worked flawlessly until the last days- his brain. Being bound to a wheelchair, Hawking experienced zero gravity, stared at the Simpsons and was one of the first atheists before whom the Pope kneeled. Opinion decided not only to recall his biography, but also to learn the main lessons that we all need to learn from a cosmic star.
To be strong (even if you have only one muscle moving)
Hawking found out that he had a disease at the time of postgraduate study at Oxford. The 21-year-old boy was told that there were only a few years to live. A member of the university rowing team had already felt muscle weakness, so he just settled on the floor and began to wait for his death. He overcame the depression after a visit to the hospital. There he saw a child diagnosed with leukemia, who was dying. Steve realized that “there were things worse than his disease”, and returned to scientific activity. The thought that the death was somewhere close did not leave the scientist, so he aimed to work every day for his goal, despite the pain and body that didn’t work properly.
“Life would be tragic if it was not funny. My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21 years old. Since then, everything has become a reward. Anyway, no matter how bad life may seem to you, there is always something you can do and succeed. As long as there is life, there is hope, “said Stephen Hawking about his physical state.
To be passionate (but control yourself)
Stephen does not have a Nobel Prize, but he has three children. There are rumors that love has saved him from death. In 1965, Stephen Hawking married a university friend Jane Wilde, who gave birth to two sons and a daughter. He could not hold the children in his arms or ride a bike with them, but there was always a lot of fun in the Hawkings’ house: scientists came to them every week, and the children took part in the “seminars in the kitchen”.
“The father and his friends often discussed some strange topics that we did not understand. However, there were no prohibitions on the presence of the children. We were allowed to ask any question. And they always answered “, remembers Lucy Hawking.
The scientist himself was calculating and writing books round the clock.
“Although clouds hovered over my future, to my surprise, I found out that now I began to get more pleasure from life than before. I can not say that my physical state helps me in my work, but it helps me concentrate on research, avoiding lectures and boring conferences, ” Stephen said about his scientific marathons.
It is worth mentioning that such passion for science eventually ruined his marriage. He broke with Jane Wild, and only 5 years later he married his caretaker Elan Mason. The relationship lasted 11 years, until Stephen realized that his only passion and love is science.
To dream and not to be afraid to recognize mistakes (even if you are a genius)
The best-known features of the character of Hawking are passion for controversy and dreaminess. The most famous bet between the scientist and an astrophysicist Kip Thorne happened in 1975. Steven lost his annual subscription to the erotic magazine Penthouse. The bet concerned the nature of the space object Cygnus X-1: Thorne believed that the Cygnus X-1 was a black hole, and Hawking denied it, although even according to his own calculations, the object was a black hole. In 1990, Hawking admitted defeat and bought the magazine for another scientist. And in 1997, he bet with another astrophysicist, John Preskill, about storing information of matter in a black hole. Hawking admitted defeat in 2004 and bought the baseball guide for the winner. In 2012, a scientist lost $ 100 to Gordon Kane from the University of Michigan: Stephen bet that the Higgs boson (sometimes called “a piece of God”) would never be found, and he was wrong.
Throughout his life, Stephen dreamed of going out in space. In 2007, a 65-year-old physicist felt the state of weightlessness: he traveled on NASA KC-135. During the flight, Hawking was detached from his wheelchair, and for several minutes he was in zero gravity. The scientist later noted that he never even dreamed of something like this and felt as a superman.
“If I have a dream to go on some kind of trip, then this place is definitely not on the Earth, but in space. If I were someone like Bill Gates, I would rent a spacecraft. It would cost a couple of hundreds of millions of dollars “, Hawking told jokingly about his dreams.
To adhere to your principles (but respect the views of others)
Since youth, Hawking was a convinced atheist. He did not believe in God and also often used the statements of other great scholars to “troll” religion. However, the Catholic Church, which was looking for ways of convergence with the modern world, liked his “Big Bang Theory”. Stephen was invited to Vatican. Hawking came, and Pope Paul VI himself got down on his knees before the scientist to reward him with the Golden Medal of Pope Pius XI – the highest church award for young members. The atheist scientist did not refuse to enroll in the Papal Academy of Sciences. However, later he could not resist “trolling” believers.
“There is a fundamental difference between a religion based on authority and a science based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works. There is no need to call God to light and run the Universe, “Stephen said in 2010.
However, this did not prevent him two years ago from meeting with Pope Francis and for several hours discussing the theory of the Universe.
To understand yourself (for your own benefit)
Steven used his physical disability in favor of science. A weirdo in a bionic chair has attracted much more attention than ordinary scientists. Even at the very beginning of his cosmic way, Hawking accepted his body, and then even started to joke in the voice of the synthesizer, which replaced his own voice. He understood his own purpose and superpower – to tell about astrophysics so that even the children understood it.
“I wanted to write a book that would be sold at airports. My manager said that each formula reduces sales by half, so I used only one – Einstein’s E = mc², and told the story of the creation of the universe in simple words. I even let my nurses read it. It seems to me that they have understood almost everything. The book has sold many millions of copies. In the end, I sold more books about science than Madonna about sex, “Hawking commented on his book “A Brief History of Time”.
In addition to writing, the physicist did not refuse to voice over his image in comedy cartoons: The Simpsons and Futurama. He also played himself in the series “The Big Bang Theory,” “Star Trek” and “Monty Python”.
As a real space object, Stephen was originally a part of a large molecular cloud – the whirlwind of all people. Later he became a separate star, and his weight only increased in the universe. The size of Hawking in science exceeded all standard measurements, and, according to all the laws of astrophysics, he became the one that he studied all his life – a large black hole containing a lot of information. We, mere mortals, can only hope that the energy from this cosmic body will be enough for our Earth to gave birth to the Supernew Star, which, like Stephen, will light our hearts.
Text: Kostiantyn Rul