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Hawking left us with an amazing legacy

One of the truly great minds of our time is with us no more. Physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking died Wednesday at 76 years of age. To me, the most amazing thing about this great man is how long he lived with a severe disability and would not let it defeat him.

Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, when he was in his twenties. It gradually paralyzed him over the rest of his life, some 50 years.

Living in the same time period with Steven Hawking is like being a contemporary of Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton of Albert Einstein. There’s an opportunity to be open minded enough to learn something from someone gifted with tremendous knowledge. Understanding them will be beyond the comprehension of an average person, but one does know that human understanding of the world we live in is always advancing.

I’m just glad there’s a lot of people in the world who are a whole lot smarter than I am and who are decent enough to use that knowledge for the benefit of mankind.

There’s so much we’ve learned about the cosmos is such a short period of time. It’s always been  difficult for me to understand when I hear a learned person say there’s more stars in the sky than there are grains of sand on all the beaches in the world, more stars in the sky than all the leaves on all the trees in the world. Now we’re being told that there are far more earth like planets than there are stars.

Some cosmologists are now suggesting that there’s more than one universe, an infinite amount of them in fact.

It may be true, but it’s way beyond my understanding. I’m just glad to be alive in an age where we have the modern conveniences we have. Collectively we have lots of growing up to do in using them. Even so, it’s better than having lived in a comparatively primitive age, as those who preceded us did.

Hawking was someone embraced by pop culture. He made appearances on U.S. TV shows ranging from Star Trek to the Simpsons. He wanted to make science less dull, for everyone to understand that it held all the secrets of who we were, who we are and what we will become.

He left quite a legacy, and the world is a better place for what he did.