In a heart-warming reaction to this news, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, a leading Motor Neurone Disease charity, is facing technical difficulties as it website has crashed due to the inundation of people showing their support (however it is still possible to donate via the charity’s Just Giving page).
From the age of 17, when Stephen Hawking started his undergraduate degree at Oxford, his intellect and wit stunned people. The theoretical physicist went on to make some ground-breaking discoveries and develop radical, controversial, and hugely influential theories. The vastness of his scientific imprint is undeniable, yet he was also a man of great humility and kindness.
“Our picture of the universe has changed a great deal in the last fifty years and I am happy if I have made a small contribution”
In a celebration of his life, the Cause4 team has put together a few facts you may not have known about the Professor, because whilst his contribution to the scientific world was immense, his lasting footprint spans far beyond.
Stephen Hawking – The Feminist
A known feminist, Stephen Hawking made contributions to gender equality, stating “It is not scientific proof of gender equality that is required, but general acceptance that women are at least the equals of men, or better”. The women in Hawking’s life are also inspirational for female empowerment, as his mother was one of the first female graduates of Oxford, whilst his daughter Lucy, co-wrote a series of science themed novels with Hawking, including George’s Secret Key to the Universe.
Stephen Hawking – The Culture Buff
Hawking bridged science and popular culture, appearing in shows including The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory and Star Trek, and contributing to records by Pink Floyd.
Stephen Hawking – The NHS Champion
Stephen Hawking was a proud champion of the NHS, promoting its worth in recent times of crisis: “People value the NHS, and are proud that we treat everyone equally when they are sick. The NHS brings out the best in us”.
Stephen Hawking – The Environmental Ambassador
Hawking also advocated for environmental protection, arguing that “we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity”, having the technology to destroy the planet, but not the ability to escape it. Facing “awesome” environmental challenges, he strongly believed that now, more than ever, is a time that “our species needs to work together”.
Stephen Hawking – The evolutionary thinker
Stephen Hawking was one of the first collaborators of UNLIMITED, a global platform for the world’s leading thinkers, scientists, philosophers, sportsmen, explorers, financiers and writers. The platform channels new ways of thinking, and challenges previously established views about our role in society and the future of business. It asks big questions such as ‘Does Wealth Make Us Rich Anymore?’ – Hawking had argued that “we must broaden our definition of wealth to include knowledge, natural resources, and human capacity”.
Stephen Hawking – The Philanthropist
Stephen Hawking’s contributions to the charitable sector include the Stephen Hawking Foundation, facilitating research into Cosmology, Astrophysics and Fundamental Particle Physics at school and university, as well as supporting work relating to Motor Neurone Disease and those living with it. He was a long-time supporter of SOS Children’s Villages, a charity which builds loving families for orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children, travelling to Vietnam in 1997 to visit one of the charity’s villages. Additionally, both Stephen and his daughter Lucy are Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts, a highly regarded award that showcases their dedication to social change.
Stephen Hawking – The Inspiration
The Stephen Hawking School in London was named after the Professor – a place school for children with severe and profound learning difficulties.
Stephen Hawking will rightly be remembered as one of the greatest minds and persevering spirits of the 20th and 21st centuries. We hope that he continues to inspire the young minds of the future, with his legacy paving the way for more acceptance, support and integration.
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
What is your favourite Stephen Hawking story? Tweet us at @OfficialCause4 and let us know
In respectful memory of Professor Stephen Hawking 1942 – 2018