Stephen Hawking, a theoretical physicist and author of bestselling books died on 14th March (2018) at his home in Cambridge. He was 76.
Stephen Hawking did research on general relativity and black holes. He wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time. In 1963, at the age of 22 Prof Hawking was diagnosed with a rare form of motor neuron disease, which left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.
Prof Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics. He also discovered that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing – a phenomenon that would later become known as Hawking radiation. In his work with mathematician Roger Penrose, he demonstrated that Einstein’s general theory of relativity implies space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes.
Hawking recognised the great opportunities that arose from advances in artificial intelligence, but also warned about the dangers. He said that the primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far had already proved very useful; indeed, the tech he used to communicate incorporated a basic form of AI. But he feared the consequences of advanced forms of machine intelligence that could match or surpass humans.
His book ‘A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes’ published in 1988 and sold more than ten million copies. His life story was the basis of an Academy Award winning 2014 film ‘The Theory of Everything’.