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Stephen Hawking died

He was a mathematical genius and an inspiration to millions across the globe while he lived.

And even in death Stephen Hawking has proved just what a mathematical genius he was – parting the world on the most relevant day of the year.

Pi Day 3.14.

With exactly the same awesome sense of humour he was known for, Hawking died at his home in Cambridge early this morning on the 30th anniversary of Pi.

And to make it even more memorable, today is Albert Einstein’s birthday.

Even in death, Hawking’s genius is still shining through.

The 76-year-old’s children Lucy, Robert and Tim announced his death in a statement this morning, saying: ‘We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.’

Hawking’s incredible mind pushed the very limits of human understanding both in the vastness of space and in the bizarre sub-molecular world of quantum theory, which he said could predict what happens at the beginning and end of time.

What is Pi?

  • Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th around the world.
  • Physicist Larry Shaw organised the first ‘Pi Day’ celebration at the San Francisco Exploratorium science museum 30 years ago.
  • Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant.
  • This is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.
  • Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point and will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern.

Source: Piday.org

His work ranged from the origins of the universe, through the tantalising prospect of time travel to the mysteries of space’s all-consuming black holes.

His family said: ‘He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world.’

The power of his intellect contrasted cruelly with the weakness of his body, ravaged by the wasting motor neurone disease he developed at the age of 21.

Hawking was confined for most of his life to a wheelchair. As his condition worsened, he had to resort to speaking through a voice synthesiser and communicating by moving his eyebrows.

The disease spurred him to work harder but also contributed to the collapse of his two marriages.

In his 2013 memoir ‘My Brief History’, he revealed how he was first diagnosed: ‘I felt it was very unfair – why should this happen to me’.

‘At the time, I thought my life was over and that I would never realize the potential I felt I had. But now, 50 years later, I can be quietly satisfied with my life.’

Hawking shot to international fame after the 1988 publication of ‘A Brief History of Time’, one of the most complex books ever to achieve mass appeal, which stayed on the Sunday Times best-sellers list for no fewer than 237 weeks.

He said he wrote the book to convey his own excitement over recent discoveries about the universe.

‘My original aim was to write a book that would sell on airport bookstalls,’ he told reporters at the time. ‘In order to make sure it was understandable I tried the book out on my nurses. I think they understood most of it.’

He was particularly proud that the book contains only one mathematical equation – relativity’s famous E=MC squared.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, paid tribute to Hawking and said: ‘We have lost a colossal mind and a wonderful spirit. Rest in peace, Stephen Hawking.’

Hawking’s popular recognition became such that he appeared as himself on the television show ‘Star Trek: Next Generation’ and his cartoon caricature appeared on ‘The Simpsons’.

A 2014 film, The Theory of Everything, with Eddie Redmayne playing Hawking, charted the onset of his illness and his early life as the brilliant student grappling with black holes and the concept of time.


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