Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Stephen Hawking: two weeks before his death he predicted 'the end of the universe'

The paper could have earned Hawking a Nobel Prize, his co-author says

Clark Mindock
New York
Sunday 18 March 2018 21:36 GMT
Comments
Professor Stephen Hawking dies at the age of 76

A theory explaining how we might detect parallel universes and a prediction for the end of the world was completed by Stephen Hawking shortly before he died, it has emerged.

The renowned theoretical physicist was working right up until his death last week on his final work – A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation – which is currently being reviewed by a leading scientific journal. In it he predicted that the universe would eventually end when stars run out of energy.

But Hawking also theorised in his final work that scientists could find alternate universes using probes on space ships, allowing humans to form an even better understanding of our own universe, what else is out there and our place in the cosmos.

The physicist’s final work was published alongside his co-author, Professor Thomas Hertog, of KU Leuven University in Belgium.

“He has often been nominated for the Nobel and should have won it. Now he never can,” Prof Hertog told The Sunday Times, arguing that Hawking could have won that prize for his work on this final paper.

He “would have won a Nobel Prize”, Prof Hertog said.

Hawking died last Wednesday in Cambridge at the age of 76, having suffered from a rare form of motor neurone disease since 1964 that left him in a wheelchair with very little muscular mobility.

That disease left him reliant upon people or technology for virtually every part of his life, including eating, bathing, dressing, and even speaking.

To communicate with others, Hawking used a speech synthesiser that allowed him to speak with a computerised voice that had an American accent.

He was perhaps best known for the publication of his landmark book A Brief History of Time. Published in 1988, it went on to sell more than 10 million copies.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in