Cambridge physicist Professor Stephen Hawking has died. But his legacy isn’t just about proving scientific theories. He also showed us the power of the human spirit.
The man wasn’t just larger than life around campus at Cambridge, his work has been admired worldwide for decades. Throughout his impressive academic career Professor Hawking helped us better understand our planet, and at the same time, perhaps ourselves.
The world will remember Professor Hawking for his outstanding contributions to science and academia. There’s no question he was a tremendous ambassador for the University of Cambridge for over 50 years. But for his students and many people in Cambridge, he will be remembered as a charismatic and funny guy that they spotted out around town. He was respected and admired. Buildings, departments and clubs at the University bear his name.
In 2013 Hollywood overtook campus to film a movie about his life. I was around Cambridge myself during this time and many of my friends auditioned for a role as an extra because they wanted to be a part of sharing his heroic story. ‘The Theory of Everything’ was not only a box office smash but the actor who played Hawking, Eddie Redmayne (also a Cambridge alum), went on to win the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Hawking’s life and journey with motor neurone disease.
The British physicist and author had a way with words. Here are seven life lessons we can learn from some of his greatest statements.
1. Stay curious:
“I am just a child who has never grown up. I still keep asking these ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. Occasionally, I find an answer.”
Professor Hawking never stopped looking for problems to solve. No matter how much was going on in his life, and he overcame tremendous health challenges, he never ever quit being curious.
2. Be courageous:
“If I had to choose a superhero to be, I would pick Superman. He’s everything that I’m not.”
Call it what you want: guts, grit, gumption — Professor Hawking had it all in spades. It’s hard enough to earn a PhD at any university, but to do it while coping with debilitating motor neuron disease AND…