Easily the most famous scientist in the world, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76 peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, his family said.
The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.
The physicist died on Pi Day, March 14, the day each year when scientists and mathematicians celebrate the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Today is also famed theory of relativity scientist Albert Einstein’s birthday.
At the age of 22 Prof Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease.
Considered by many to be the world’s greatest living scientist, Hawking was also a cosmologist, astronomer, mathematician and author of numerous books including the landmark “A Brief History of Time,” which has sold more than 10 million copies.
With fellow physicist Roger Penrose, Hawking merged Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum theory to suggest that space and time would begin with the Big Bang and end in black holes. Hawking also discovered that black holes were not completely black but emit radiation and would likely eventually evaporate and disappear.
Hawking suffered from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a neurodegenerative disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which is usually fatal within a few years. He was diagnosed in 1963, when he was 21, and doctors initially only gave him a few years to live.