I don't even know what to say about this right now. I can't think of anyone who was more influential in my life. It goes without saying that he was an inspirational figure. But a lot of people don't know just how important he really was as a scientist.
We know that black holes have singularities because of Hawking. We know that there has to have been a big bang because of Hawking. The majority of the research done in fundamental physics for the last thirty years has been an attempt to fully understand just one of his discoveries (Hawking radiation). There has been no more important scientific mind in the last fifty years.
He started to have trouble balancing in his mid twenties. He didn't expect to survive to the end of grad school. Now he's gone at 76. Not bad, but we could have used more of him.
7. "I got surprisingly choked up in a lecture this morning. " In response to Reply # 0
I gave a whole spiel about Hawking as the "patron saint of smart people getting shit done."
There's a trap that really smart people often fall into. Einstein did it, Hawking did it. I'm a nitwit compared to them, but I definitely fell into it. The trap is that if you can be clever enough to get by without doing any work, you just don't do any work.
Hawking estimated that during his undergraduate years, he spent approximately one hour per day working.
Grad school probably would have gone about the same for him. But then he found out that he probably wouldn't survive long enough to finish. (I said mid-twenties above, but it turns out he was 21 when he was diagnosed. The same age as the students I was talking to this morning.)
Imminent death has a way of focusing the mind, as they say. And Hawking, smart as he was, finally knew that his smartness couldn't save him from everything, and he really had to put that smartness to work, real work. Within a few years, he'd proven some of the most important mathematical theorems in fundamental physics. It was a discovery that could have crowned a great scientific career, but for him it was literally just the starting point. Amazingly, he got in a full career after that, and he kept working, and kept discovering, even after his only means of communicating with the outside world was a twitch of the eye. It is mind-boggling what this man accomplished, period. But even more so considering the increasing punishment of his circumstances.
When people think there is always tomorrow to do something, they limit what they will try to do today. That is always going to keep you from reaching your potential. I definitely suffer from that.
_______________________________________ You ain't the only one whose got problems. You ain't the only one who knows pain. Get up off your ass and just solve them. You still got a chance to try to change, try the shit again. Devin tha Dude