If you have even the basic interaction with the world of science, you will have definitely heard about Stephen Hawking. He is one of the sharpest minds in today’s time and has contributed immensely to research on theoretical physics. Born on January 8, 1942, Stephen Hawking surely follows great names in science like Galileo and Isaac Newton.
His childhood ambitions were to study mathematics. However, once he enrolled in Cambridge, he opted to study Natural Sciences. It was then, during his first year at Cambridge, he started showing symptoms of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). This was a huge shock for a young man who was just 21 years old. According to his doctors, he had at most two and a half years to live.
Fighting against all the odds, Stephen Hawking not only survived his medical condition but also has been contributing regularly to the development of science through his highly valued research. ALS has been a huge challenge in his life. According to him, it seemed like an end. He says that all his expectations came crashing down on him. Since his first diagnosis, he takes everything in life as a bonus.
Despite all the difficulties, Hawking has proved himself a warrior. His disease never got into the way of his education and research. He dedicated his life to searching for answers about everything that exists in the universe. His work on the Big Bag, creation and numerous other scientific theories have led the way for twelve honorary degrees. Given his medical condition, it is an unmatchable feat.
ALS has restricted his movement and speech, but what it could not contain was his love for research. His achievements inspire people all over the world. What makes them work harder in their respective fields is this man’s attitude. He kept moving forwards when everything in life was there to keep him down. He encourages his fans to find the mysticism the universe holds within itself.
Not so long ago he was presenting a lecture at the Royal Institute in London about the black holes, where he found an opportunity to relate them with depression. He says that it is possible to escape both black holes and depression. The scientific theory he was presenting claims that black holes are not completely like eternal prisons as they are thought of to be. They are just a way into another universe. Just like that, if you ever feel you are locked into a black hole do not give up. There is a way out.
He has always been very positive about his disabilities.
He inspired many with disabilities with his life story. He says, “If you are disabled, it is probably not your fault, but it is no good blaming the world or expecting it to take pity on you. One has to have a positive attitude and must make the best of the situation that one finds oneself in; if one is physically disabled, one cannot afford to be psychologically disabled as well. In my opinion, one should concentrate on activities in which one’s physical disability will not present a serious handicap.
I am afraid that Olympic Games for the disabled do not appeal to me, but it is easy for me to say that because I never liked athletics anyway.
On the other hand, science is a very good area for disabled people because it goes on mainly in the mind. Of course, most kinds of experimental work are probably ruled out for most such people, but theoretical work is almost ideal.
My disabilities have not been a significant handicap in my field, which is theoretical physics. Indeed, they have helped me in a way by shielding me from lecturing and administrative work that I would otherwise have been involved in. I have managed, however, only because of a large amount of help I have received from my wife, children, colleagues, and students. I find that people, in general, are very ready to help, but you should encourage them to feel that their efforts to aid you are worthwhile by doing as well as you possibly can.”
He is not just an inspiration for scientists or disables, he gives each of us the message that nothing in this world can keep you down if you have the will to carry on. Immobility and an inability to speak could not take away from him his curious mind and sense of wonder. What excuse do we have to give up on our goals?
During a lecture, her daughter got a chance to speak about him and she shared with the crowd, “He has a very enviable wish to keep going and the ability to summon all his reserves, all his energy, all his mental focus and press them all into that goal of keeping going. But not just to keep going for the purposes of survival, but to transcend this by producing extraordinary work writing books, giving lectures, inspiring other people with neurodegenerative and other disabilities.”