A brief history of Stephen Hawking - in pictures

'Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny'

Harry Cockburn
Wednesday 14 March 2018 13:21
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Professor Stephen Hawking dies at the age of 76

World-renowned physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.

A colossal public figure, his 1988 book A Brief History of Time became an instant classic of popular science, spending a record five years on the Sunday Times bestseller list.

“Our goal is nothing less than a complete description of the universe we live in,” he wrote in the book.

His numerous achievements, including extensive research into black holes and quantum mechanics, and his ability to bring theories from the edge of human comprehension to the public at large made him a giant of modern cosmology.

Despite suffering from a rare and debilitating form of motor neurone disease, Hawking pounced on opportunities to appear in public. He made numerous cameo appearances on television, famously voicing himself in the Simpsons, and appearing as a hologram in a 1990s episode of Star Trek in which he was seen playing poker with Newton and Einstein.

Here are images of his incredible life and career.

Hawking at Cambridge University in the 1980s
Stephen Hawking at his Oxford graduation (MASONS NEWS SERVICE)
Hawking on his way to university from his residence in Cambridge
Hawking at the University of Cambridge
Professor Hawking posing beside a lamp titled 'black hole light' by inventor Mark Champkins, presented to him during a visit to London's Science Museum in 2012
Stephen Hawking floating in a weightless environment on an aeroplane in 2007
Bill Gates meets Professor Hawking during a visit to Cambridge University (REUTERS)
Hawking and his new bride Elaine Mason pose for pictures after their wedding in 1995.(Rex)
Hawking receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former US President Barack Obama
Left, Hawking voiced himself in an episode of The Simpsons. Right, actor Eddie Redmayne played the physicist in the film The Theory of Everything
Professor Hawking and his wife Elaine Mason after their wedding in 1995 (REUTERS)
Professor Hawking in 2010

One of Professor Hawking's greatest attributes was his ability to find humour in his life and work. “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny,” he said.

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