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Ad Astra – Stephen Hawking

March 13, 2018

He was brilliant. Of course, he was brilliant. He was a theoretical physicist. I’m guessing not many of my regular readers are involved theoretical phisics. But, I’m guessing virtually all of my readers, or most at least, have heard of Stephen Hawking. He died today at the age of 76.

Professor Hawking was one of those rare men who transcended science. He became a pop icon. He was a regular on the Big Bang Theory. He wrote a bestselling book called, “A Brief History Of Time.” I read it. I even understood most of it. I’m pretty sure that Professor Hawking dumbed it down for most of us.

He was brilliant. And yet, we never heard his voice. He explained the vastness of the cosmos, but he couldn’t so much as take a step. ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, crippled his body.

It’s telling that no one says, “He was pretty successful considering his handicap.” Or, “He accomplished a lot for someone in his condition.” He wasn’t defined by his handicap. He was successful. He was brilliant. He also had a wicked sense of humor. The most famous scientist in the world died on Pi Day. Well, played professor. Well played.

He’s an inspriration to many people. If Professor Hawking can do what he did with the challenges he had to overcome, what’s my excuse? When I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, I can consider that he couldn’t get out of bed on his own. And yet, he was successful enough for several lifetimes. His work on black holes is amazing. His efforts to bring physics to the masses is extraordinary.

He spoke out about the need for space travel. Not just because he was a scientist that studied space, but for the survival of mankind. He worried about how dangerous it was to remain on a single planet.

He’s now free from the physical limitations of his body. He may not have believed in an afterlife, but I like to think that rather than “Resting in Peace,” Professor Hawking is now free to travel the cosmos. Ad astra, Professor Hawking.

Stephen Hawking
January 8, 1942 – March 14, 2018

The end

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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