“It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.” Those are the famous words of beloved and truly brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking, who passed away peacefully in his Cambridge, England, home on the morning of March 14, 2018.
Hawking was diagnosed with ALS in 1963 while he was a student at Cambridge and he was told that he’d have two years to live. Miraculously, he lived a long, rich, happy life for 55 years after that diagnosis, making contributions to the field of physics that changed the course of scientific history.
In a funny turn of events, Mr. Hawking actually wanted to study mathematics at Oxford, but when he was denied a seat, he chose physics at Cambridge instead. It was a cosmic twist of fate from which the whole world benefitted. He was so mindbogglingly intelligent that, after spending some time studying black holes, he went on to examine, well, everything: the universe, its existence, and its very creation. It became known as his Theory of Everything.
As stated by the DailyMail, “Hawking argued that galaxies were formed in the time directly after the Big Bang, suggesting that quantum fluctuations evolved into them after being bumped together by gravitational forces.”
A bit later in his career, he explained his theories in layman’s terms in “A Brief History of Time.” The book went on to sell 10 million copies and is still an international bestseller.
Thinking about Hawking’s brilliance and his contributions to science can be overwhelming. Before looking into Stephen Hawking’s net worth on this sad day, I just assumed that it would be astronomical given the fact that he is one of the most influential people in history. While $20 million is certainly no small change, it really got me thinking. You really cannot put a price on the mind, life, and legacy of Stephen Hawking. No amount of money would feel like enough.
Much of his financial success came from sales of his bestselling book. He also won the Fundamental Physics Prize and a sum of $3 million along with it. It is the biggest prize not only in physics but in science as a whole.
Today is bittersweet. While the whole world will feel the void left by his loss, it’s nice to reflect on everything he’s accomplished in his life in the name of understanding this world we live in a little bit better. Mr. Hawking, thank you for everything. I hope your meeting with the universe was a spectacular one.