back to article Stephen Hawking dies, aged 76

Physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. Hawking’s children Lucy, Robert and Tim issued a statement on Wednesday, March 14th, in which they said “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.” “He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. …

  1. fluffybunnyuk

    A great man. His legacy, and ideas will not be soon forgotten.

    His Brief history of time got me into CPT theory, and superstrings.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Hawking's Equation

      You don't need to know either to understand Hawking's famous equation, S = A [πkc3/2hG]

      The amazing thing about his equation for black holes is that the entropy is simply equal to the surface area multiplied by a little bag of fundamental constants - gravity, Planck, Boltzmann, c, pi and the number 2.

      There's nothing in it that has not been part of physics for well over 100 years. Entropy first emerged out of early steam engine and gas engine theory. His equation links Newton to black holes, and yet, except for the c-cubed term which is just a constant, it makes no use of calculus or raising numbers to a power.

  2. cavac

    The world has lost a brilliant mind today :-(

  3. Mayday Silver badge
    Pint

    Vale

    He never quite managed to finish the Warp Drive he said he was working on when he visited the set of Star Trek TNG where he played himself.

    1. Kharkov
      Unhappy

      Re: Vale

      True, he didn’t finish the Warp Drive but you know it’ll be renamed the Hawking Drive...

      Farewell, you who has slipped the bonds of this surly Earth, and may you brighten the stars with your energy.

      He’ll be sadly missed.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Vale

        Thermodynamics tells us that he's not gone, just slightly more disorganised.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Vale

          Exactly my thoughts! Have an upvote.

          And to pass away on a combination of both Pi Day and Einstein's Birthday ..

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    The world lost one of the great minds who changed the way we think about the universe, life, and much more. To say he'll be missed is an understatement as there's no telling what he might have done next.

  5. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    That's a bummer of a way to start a Wednesday

    What a guy!

    Hope the new radio continuation of Hitchhikers goes well. He now knows whether 42 is the right answer

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: That's a bummer of a way to start a Wednesday

      well, if you consider that it's also "Pi Day" i.e. 3/14

      Seems appropriate, though.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: That's a bummer of a way to start a Wednesday

        14/3 - Hawking wasn’t American.

        No idea what his opinion on Tau was though...

        1. Mycho Silver badge

          Re: That's a bummer of a way to start a Wednesday

          It is, however, Einstein's 139th birthday.

          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

            Re: That's a bummer of a way to start a Wednesday

            Rather than the divisive 3/14 or 14/3, maybe we should denote the date 14*3 or 3*14, which either way equals 42. Seems fitting

            RIP Stephen Hawking

            1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

              Come in number 42, your Time is up

              Rather than the divisive 3/14 or 14/3, maybe we should denote the date 14*3 or 3*14, which either way equals 42. Seems fitting

        2. sawatts

          Re: That's a bummer of a way to start a Wednesday

          2018-03-14 - ISO 8601

          But being pedantic seems inappropriate at this time.

          (why isn't there a "for science" icon?)

        3. MonsieurTM

          Re: That's a bummer of a way to start a Wednesday

          Fortunately the wikipedia entry has been edited for "Pi Day" to include a non-US centric definition, so we may all celebrate Pi day! Huzzah!

          "Note that for those counties in which 3/14 is not in US-centric MM/DD format, one may appeal to ISO8601 - "Date and time format" for a more internationally-inclusive definition: one may take the four least-significant-digits of a date in ISO8601-format: e.g. 2017-03-14 gives one 03-14."

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: That's a bummer of a way to start a Wednesday

            Or just use 22/7.

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: That's a bummer of a way to start a Wednesday

              355/113 - let's have some precision around the place!

      2. Kharkov
        Boffin

        Re: That's a bummer of a way to start a Wednesday

        Hmm, do you want to read anything into the fact that 3x14=42?

    2. djstardust Silver badge

      Re: That's a bummer of a way to start a Wednesday

      It's the staff I feel sorry for.

      First Toys R us, Maplins and now Hawkings Bazaar......

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: Rest in peace

      Or alternatively, Death might be saying "SO, WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?"

      Although it doesn't sound quite right in a sans-serif font

      1. Voidstorm

        Re: Rest in peace

        Death looked closely at the lifetimer in his hand, which was awkward, as large parts of it kept phasing into other dimensions under scrutiny.

        'HMM', said Death, 'THAT'S PECULIAR... PARTS OF THIS ARE RADIATING AWAY...'

        They both grinned.

        - RIP, Professor Hawking

  7. ratfox Silver badge
    Happy

    However, the disease progressed more slowly than predicted and married, kept working and became a titan of both hard and popular science.

    I like this version; please don't change it!

  8. MrT

    "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton.

    "And this is not at all because of the acuteness of our sight or the stature of our body, but because we are carried aloft and elevated by the magnitude of the giants." Bernard of Chartres, whom Newton paraphrased in his famous quote from a letter to Robert Hooke - seems more appropriate here.

    RIP, Stephen. A giant for future generations...

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton.

      Although that quote takes on a slightly different meaning when you realise that Newton and Hooke hated each other, Hooke thought Newton was a plagiarist, and Hooke was really, really short.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton.

        And in the hands of Little Britain, a Stephen Hawking twist...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC65NkjhkPA

        There is a good rundown of Stephen Hawking's various cameos on the BBC:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-43398899

        1. Sherrie Ludwig

          Re: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton.

          Thank you Roland6 for the BBC cameos. I hadn't seen the one with Brian Cox and I laughed so hard I woke up the cat across the room.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still shocking news :(

    Sad to hear this. Even though you know he's come of age and due to his disease he's obviously more fragile than others this news still shocked me.

    One thing though... From the article: "However, the disease progressed more slowly than predicted and married, kept working and became a titan of both hard and popular science.. Hawking's disease got married?

    I'd like to think that he would laugh if he read this silly typoe :)

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    He had a life when first doctors merely predicted an early death.

    Maybe his most extraordinary achievement.

    Some sort of message for us all in that.

    R.I.P. Dr Hawking.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: He had a life when first doctors merely predicted an early death.

      His longevity is a tribute to the work of the NHS.

      1. Professor Clifton Shallot

        Re: He had a life when first doctors merely predicted an early death.

        I'd like to know which arseholes downvoted that.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: He had a life when first doctors merely predicted an early death.

          "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS," he said. "I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          @ Professor Clifton Shallot

          Don't waste your time looking for mediocrity, it will find you soon enough.

          Unfortunately, the world has now lost a brilliant mind, the light of which sent the darkness of ignorance scurrying away like cockroaches.

          We will have to wait a long time before another such light will shine, and Humanity will be poorer in the mean time.

          Now I'm just going to go curl up in a ball in a dark room.

          1. fobobob

            Re: @ Professor Clifton Shallot

            I'm of the opinion that the average effective IQ of this species just dropped by a statistically significant amount :(

            1. David 18

              Re: @ Professor Clifton Shallot

              "I'm of the opinion that the average effective IQ of this species just dropped by a statistically significant amount :( "

              Could return to yesterday's average if anything unfortunate were ever to happen to Trump.

            2. JimboSmith Silver badge

              Re: @ Professor Clifton Shallot

              I'm of the opinion that the average effective IQ of this species just dropped by a statistically significant amount :(

              Have an upvote as that's sadly likely to be very true.

              RIP Great Man.

              Appearing in Monty Python (posted because I needed to smile today in his memory).

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ Professor Clifton Shallot

            "Now I'm just going to go curl up in a ball in a dark room."

            This isn't actually about you.

        3. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: He had a life when first doctors merely predicted an early death.

          You take an Obit and try to make it political.

          While he lost in the genetic lottery and had ALS, the NHS had nothing to do with his long life suffering from ALS.

          There were a lot of factors that helped him have a longer life. A lot of it goes to his genetics and his mental fortitude. (Hawkings lived as long as he did because he's Hawkings.)

          1. Dominic Thomas

            Re: He had a life when first doctors merely predicted an early death.

            As Aladdin Sane has already noted, the man himself disagrees: "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS,"

            And FFS you could at least get his name right... No S...

          2. tfb Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: He had a life when first doctors merely predicted an early death.

            Strangely, Hawking (whose name you could at least try to spell properly) disagreed with you, But what would he know?

          3. Professor Clifton Shallot

            Re: He had a life when first doctors merely predicted an early death.

            > You take an Obit and try to make it political.

            What a strange reaction.

            I don't think anyone was trying to make anything political; given Hawking's determined and enthusiastic support for the NHS it seems entirely appropriate to mention it in this context - I certainly don't think he or his family would disapprove.

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        "a tribute to the NHS"?

        Is it really a tribute to the NHS, that they do a fantastic job with such an exceptional individual? Private medicine would surely have done the same if called upon to do so.

        Yes, he was a brilliant showcase, just as he was a brilliant mind. But the NHS's supposed mission is diametrically opposite to that: it was to care for everyone at their time of need. And in that it's demonstrably failing: in some cases, worse than useless. As in my late mother's case, where the promise of a life-saving cancer operation on a constant week-from-now timescale gave us a false sense of optimism. Without that NHS promise, we could have gone elsewhere four months earlier, and she might be alive and well today.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "a tribute to the NHS"?

          "As in my late mother's case, where the promise of a life-saving cancer operation on a constant week-from-now timescale gave us a false sense of optimism. Without that NHS promise, we could have gone elsewhere four months earlier, and she might be alive and well today"

          If she could of afforded it

          Interesting question is whether a 22 grad student with a pre-existing condition could of got or afforded the treatment he received on the NHS. Are their Hawking's in the parts of the world where medicine is rolled out only to those who can afford it, dying untimely and unnecessarily deaths before they have a chance to reach their full potential?

        2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          Re: "a tribute to the NHS"?

          "Private medicine would surely have done the same if called upon to do so."

          A professor's salary doesn't stretch very far. And if he'd had to rely on private insurance, or a much diminished public health service, where healthcare was doled out in accordance with ability to pay, rather than need, then perhaps he would never have been able to contribute so significantly to human society.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "a tribute to the NHS"?

            "A professor's salary doesn't stretch very far. And if he'd had to rely on private insurance, or a much diminished public health service, where healthcare was doled out in accordance with ability to pay, rather than need, then perhaps he would never have been able to contribute so significantly to human society."

            At least that parses as English, unlike the utterly illiterate A/C whose post immediately follows mine.

            A professor's salary stretches further than many. Though not, I imagine, so far as to cover his lifetime costs.

            But more to the point, his extraordinarily-deep-pocketed employer would surely have sponsored his care. If not for completely altruistic reasons, then for showcase reasons, exactly the same as the NHS.

            I speak as someone who is not rich (I'm still renting a home in my mid-50s), yet contributed a five-figure sum towards my mother's operation. I'd have considered that well-spent if she'd made a recovery (she was round about contemporary with Hawking). The reality for a family without Hawking's distinction is that the NHS prevented that by stringing us along with empty promises.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "a tribute to the NHS"?

              While I can emphasise on your point of the NHS stringing you along with empty promises (a bad experience myself) the reality is that private medicine is much, much worse than this. Hey, we think we can help you out. We'll just do this operation.....several ££££ later.......well that didn't work, but we understand why. Let's try this (which turns out to be pretty much the same thing with a slightly different dose) ..... more ££££££...... and so on.

              The fundamental difference is private health care is a business, and while individual practitioners may have your interests at heart, as a whole their entire purpose is to make money. In theory, public health care is there purely to make people better.

              I say in theory, because in reality, public health care's purpose is increasingly to do the job while spending as little money as possible. Of course, money doesn't grow on trees and I would prefer them to say as early as possible that they don't have the funding and you should go private, but I speak as someone who can afford private health care. Public health care is there to ensure that those who can't afford it still get the basic right to health care. This is a basic right and should be defended.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "a tribute to the NHS"?

                >We'll just do this operation.....several ££££ later.......

                Missed a step! We'll just do a few tests and some exploratory procedures - you can easily waste 6+ months at this stage (I know as I've been there).

                >public health care's purpose is increasingly to do the job while spending as little money as possible.

                Agree, however this can bring benefits: looks like you have the standard stress-related gastrointestinal problems that go with many professional jobs that should of been resolved by the private consultant, I'll prescribe the usual cure - circa £26 prescription cost, come back in 2 weeks if you still have problems and then we'll do a more thorough investigation. Needless to say I had no cause to go back...

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "a tribute to the NHS"?

                Public health care is there to ensure that those who can't afford it still get the basic right to health care.

                Yes, but that simply doesn't happen with the NHS. It's a complete lottery if you can get into the system and get decent care when you need it, or get left to your fate.

                I've had a serious medical scare twice in my life. The first time (late 2007), I couldn't even get a GP appointment, let alone hospital care. The second time (March 2014) I had very similar symptoms, they jumped into action, diagnosed my symptoms as a minor stroke, diagnosed an underlying heart condition, and put me on medication.

                Why the difference? Lost one, won one lottery to get NHS care.

      3. Asterix the Gaul

        Re: He had a life when first doctors merely predicted an early death.

        "His longevity is a tribute to the work of the NHS".

        I would like to refine that theory.

        I think that his life was made immeasurably better by two factors, firstly, the initial specialist consultants, secondly, but not least, the women in his life, his wives,nurses & carers.

        As a man,I pay my humble tributes to all those women that did a tremendous duty, that only they could possibly do over the decades.

        R.I.P Stephen HAWKING, your achievements & memory will never radiate away.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Today

    is a very sad day indeed.

    Good voyage Prof Hawking.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He will be missed.

    Who's going to continue the suit against Jeremy Hunt now?

  13. Only me!
    Boffin

    Enjoy you trip in space and time

    Enjoy you trip in space and time

  14. TRT Silver badge

    The Endless River...

    flows on. RIP.

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Re: The Endless River...

      "All we need to do is make sure we keep talking"

  15. Voidstorm
    Facepalm

    RIP to da Man

    Farewell to a Titan, indeed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITo3EvxWnPg

  16. TonyJ Silver badge

    RIP Professor

    A good twenty+ years ago in on of my first IT jobs, the place I was working at decided to name new servers after scientists.

    The first two were Einstein and Newton.

    The next one, to a mix of both my humour and annoyance was Hawkings with an extra 's'

    The world will miss you, Prof, even if the vast majority will have no idea of the detail of your work or any chance of understanding even a fraction of it.

    Thank you for your contributions and may you rest in peace.

  17. jake Silver badge

    My tape robot is named after him.

    The Universe is a smaller place with his passing.

    RIP, Doctor.

    1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      Re: My tape robot is named after him.

      "The Universe is a smaller place with his passing"

      But also bigger because of his life.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Redefining reality

    Hawking wasn't always right, but he did admit it when he was wrong. I recommend the book The Black Hole War for a look into the trenches where Hawking and his adversaries were operating during his productive period in cosmology. I don't claim to understand the concepts, but It documents how science is really done at the higher levels, where us mortals are mere spectators.

  19. Thesheep

    You can't help but hear it in his voice...

    Fry: Hey! Stephen Hawking! Aren't you that physicist that invented gravity?

    Stephen Hawking: Sure, why not?

    Thank you for everything, Stephen.

  20. Making Bacon

    "We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special."

    Farewell to a humble yet tenacious genius of a man.

    RIP Professor Stephen Hawking.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      As an ape I resent that remark

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Humble"?

      Humble my arse. Even before "the book" he was a bit of a celeb. And I think he knew it. His late-80s undergraduate lecture series "A short history of the universe" was packed out with students from all subjects. I've still got the lecture notes somewhere in one of my boxes of crap^W valuable keep-sakes. IIRC it was during one of these lectures that he made a "joke" about what he was going to do with his Nobel Prize money, OSLT. It wasn't very funny and it certainly wasn't humble.

      Not to mention his well-known propensity for mowing down people that got in his way on Trinity Street...

  21. Mycho Silver badge

    I note that the comments of his rap battle are now also being filled up with condolences.

    The internet...

  22. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    GNU Stephen Hawking

  23. Sartori

    What a time....

    When I was just a child, and started hearing about Einstein at school and all that he did for science, I thought to myself 'Imagine being alive while such a genius was around.....' Well, guess what, we have been. Not only a fantastic scientist but great sense of humour and an inspiration for generations to come.

    RIP and all the best to his loving family.

  24. rmason Silver badge

    GNU

    GNU Mr Hawking.

    "We are basically a developed species of monkey, but we can understand the universe, and that makes us very special."

  25. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    A great loss

    In spite of all he suffered, he did great work. At the same time he never got sidetracked by fame and maintained a humanity and humility that was an example in itself.

  26. Tim Seventh

    Thank you

    For all the contributions you've gave to humanity.

    May you rest in peace, Prof Hawking.

  27. wolfetone Silver badge

    I didn't see it in the article, so could the rest of El Reg confirm or deny these ideas I've heard about the man.

    1) When he was diagnosed with his disease, didn't he train his body to use less oxygen to prolong his life?

    2) When he was diagnosed with his disease, didn't he help develop the computer that he would use to communicate with? Along with the wheelchair?

    Amazing man who stuck it to America when some idiot proclaimed that if he had been under the care of the NHS he'd have been dead long ago.

    RIP.

  28. Dave K Silver badge

    A tragic loss of a brilliant mind and a sharp wit.

    When once asked what he thought about fame, his response was "The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognised. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away".

    Rest in peace Stephen Hawking.

  29. monty75

    So long and thanks for all the physics

  30. Khaptain Silver badge

    Don't let the bastards get you down.

    Stephen Hawking : an incredible character that spent his life working within the world of abstract ideas and concepts. His handicap never stopped his brain from evolving, his ideas and those with whom who worked helped changed/improve the contemporary world..

    Well done Stephen and thanks for everything.

  31. Dave 126 Silver badge

    There ain't half been some clever bastards

    (Lucky bleeders, lucky bleeders)

    There ain't half been some clever bas-tards.

    Einstein can't be classed as witless.

    He claimed atoms were the littlest.

    When you did a bit of splitting-em-ness

    Frightened everybody shitless

    There ain't half been some clever bastards.

    Now that we've had some,

    Let's hope that there's lots more to come.

    - Ian Drury

    1. wolfetone Silver badge
      Pint

      Such a tune.

  32. Chris G Silver badge

    I am genuinely sad at Stephen's passing, he was not only an incredible scientist but an incredible example for us all of how you can overcome adversity and become truly great. He was a unique event in the universe.

    If there is an afterlife, he won't be resting in peace, he'll be finding new questions to ask.

  33. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    "There's so much I don't know about astrophysics"

    https://youtu.be/fkLL1RCEnLs?t=3m36s

  34. Abhay_Prince

    RIP Stephen Hawking.......

    Read Top 10 Famous Quotes by Modern Cosmology's Brightest Star

    http://www.quotss.com/article/Top-10-Famous-Quotes-by-Stephen-Hawking

  35. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Let's hope this prompts the BBC to repeat the biopic. If it doesn't...

    ... Youtube is your friend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PNd1rldj0k

  36. Redstone
    Unhappy

    Top Guy

    I'm sure glad his doctor's prognosis for his motor-neurone disease (i.e. that he would only live 2 years) was wrong. I read 'Brief History' when it came out and still remember the feeling of amazement at how much bigger and more incredible the universe was than my (then) teenage mind had ever imagined.

    RIP to a man whose legacy will live on long after our time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Top Guy

      "... still remember the feeling of amazement at how much bigger and more incredible the universe was than my (then) teenage mind had ever imagined."

      which makes it wholey appropriate that Stephen Hawking appears as "The Guide mark 2" in the new Hitchhikers Guide series on R4

  37. 0laf Silver badge
    Pint

    I'm sure there will be an endless debate about Hawking's place in the pantheon of great physicists but I think it is beyond debate that he has had a massive influence in bringing physics (and science in general) into popular culture and we probably have a great many more physicists and scientists working today because of him. Any each one of whom could produce the next great breakthrough in physics or medicine or materials or who-knows-what.

    That's a pretty bloody good legacy even beyond his work in theoretical physics.

    PS - Everyone knows that 42 is the answer, what Hawking might now know is the question...

  38. JakeMS

    Goodbye old friend...

    You'll be missed. Rest in Piece Hawking!

  39. Nick Kew Silver badge

    X-Clacks-Overhead

    Can't believe noone here has consigned him to the Clacks yet ...

    To think, many years ago as a young student in the neighbouring Pure Maths department, I would semi-regularly encounter him in the wheelchair with his helpers, without really knowing who he was. My occasional forays into DAMPT[1] revealed a singularity in the building, that may have been his field.

    [1] Department of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics.

  40. Paul Herber

    Kay Sera

    When I was just a little boy, I asked my mother what would I be

    Would I be clever, would I be rich, this is what she said to me

    Stephen Hawking, Hawking, whatever will be will be

    A cosmologist you will be, a big bang theory.

  41. 8Ace

    What a life !

    Tha's all I can really say ..

  42. Dr. G. Freeman
    Pint

    With Ken Dodd, and now Stephen Hawking, God is recalling his geniuses.

    1. David Nash Silver badge
      Coat

      "With Ken Dodd, and now Stephen Hawking, God is recalling his geniuses"

      Jim Bowen too today!

      RIP all and condolences to their families.

    2. JCitizen
      Alien

      I'm rather surprised .....

      at the mention of God in the article at all. I'd always heard Stephen was and atheist. ??

  43. Nick L

    Computer says "no"...

    “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

    Brilliant mind, and an utter inspiration. I remember reading A Brief History of Time in my teens and being fairly blown away by it, but being slightly annoyed by the references to god throughout it. Hawking changed his mind on this and remove any trace of a god from his universe later on...

    GNU Professor Hawking.

  44. theN8

    His legacy will live on...

    “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away...”

    1. Voidstorm
      Angel

      Re: His legacy will live on...

      ... and don't forget that those are *quantum ripples* not the ordinary kind. ;)

  45. Steve McGuinness

    One of the first Hawking stories I heard

    Was that in order to be allowed to push his wheelchair around (prior to his onboard computer/microphone being built) you needed to have at least 2 degrees, one of which had to be a PHD, in order to be able to understand and record anything he said.

    Science has lost one of its truly great minds. RIP

  46. Sequin

    He wasn't afraid of the dark

    "I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years, I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.

    I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail.

    There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      Re: He wasn't afraid of the dark

      No afterlife for computers?

      But...

      Then, where does all the calculators go?

  47. Anonymous Cowtard

    So long,

    and thanks for all the physics.

  48. sawatts

    Who will save us now?!

    We will never hear his voice again.

    ... er no wait ...

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Who will save us now?!

      ...and more importantly, who will insure that The Internet is properly demagnetized?

      // RIP, Dr. Hawking.

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Who will save us now?!

      We will never hear his voice again

      In the shadow of Prof. Hawking's remarkable longevity is the not entirely unremarkable longevity of DECtalk which dates back to 1984. That voice was very much part of his character and he would have been perceived rather differently if disposable technology had given him a different voice every few years.

  49. Louis Schreurs BEng
    Unhappy

    I cried a little

  50. Muad'Dib

    Would have thought...

    ... that "Stephen Hawking crosses event horizon, aged 76" would have been a more apposite nod towards his seminal contribution to our understanding of Black Holes, but there you go. The World is always poorer for the loss of great minds. The fact he achieved so much despite such physical obstacles to overcome is inspirational.

    1. tfb Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Would have thought...

      But from the point of view of any observer outside the horizon nothing ever does cross it, so ...

      1. Muad'Dib

        Re: Would have thought...

        Nice try, but just because a red-shifted photo remains doesn't mean the subject hasn't gone over the edge. Yet in a fitting tribute, you can take solace in that elements of the Prof will literally be emitted as the eponymous "Hawking Radiation".

        1. tfb Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Would have thought...

          It does mean exactly that, in fact: no part of the the event horizon is in the past of any observer outside it.

          1. Muad'Dib

            Re: Would have thought...

            My dear chap, you're losing me here. My original post was meant in the spirit of El Reg and do the British thing of making a quip in questionable taste in the wake of tragic news. Regardless, I'm puzzled why it is you seem to be going out of your way to spike a throwaway joke by picking at the physics? Please tell me that you're not denying that Black Holes actually consume matter? Because I'm certainly not denying that a wonderfully queer part of space/time breaking down at the event horizon is that no observer gets to see that - yet happen it does So what is your point?

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Would have thought...

              For some reason, one-upmanship seems to become important to a very small subset of ElReg's commentards whenever there is a "wake thread".

              Ignore it. You can't reason with small minds.

  51. MonsieurTM

    A sad loss...

    Especially to his family.

    But also science and the population at large for his succinct, clear and involving popularisation of science. His influence shall be sorely missed.

    We need more like him: studying hard & pure science of no immediate monetary value: for this is one of the endeavours that marks a civilisation so that it stands out long after its passing.... His corpus shall contribute to make our civilisation stand out: in the long eons after its passing.

  52. Tom 7 Silver badge

    How long will it be before someone sees so far

    by standing on the wheels of a giant?

  53. deconstructionist

    god ?

    why do we still use the word GOD when like the old prof most of us are atheist ...."know the mind of god"........

    http://huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/25/stephen-hawking-atheist_n_5882860.html

    he will be spinning in his ethereal wheelchair reading your epitaph.

    1. JCitizen
      Thumb Up

      Re: god ?

      That is what I was wondering!! I seem to remember him mentioning his "unbelief" in several specials I'd watched. I think he only mentioned it in passing so folks wouldn't think he attributed the laws of the universe to anything particularly important, or divine superintendence. I don't agree with him, but that is everyone's right, and the most important one of all.

  54. AstroNutter

    Pythagoras

    Newton

    Enistein

    Hawking

    He may have passed on from this world. His legacy however is immortal.

  55. ukgnome Silver badge
    Pint

    RIP

    Rest In Particles

  56. sisk Silver badge
    Unhappy

    A very sad day indeed. The world has lost a brilliant man. His contributions to science are impressive, but even more impressive is the number of people who credit him with their interest in science.

  57. Michael Thibault

    We are stardust, we are golden.

    Universally famous 'rock-star' physicist goes on swan-song tour.

  58. Kaltern

    The great man might be gone, but his voice lives on... I wonder if it would be possible to hook up his modulator to something that would allow it to recite some of his lectures... in a science museum or suchlike.

    1. ibmalone Silver badge

      IIRC he actually ended up buying the company, or at least the technology behind that voice, because newer ones came along and put them out of business, but by then the voice was such a part of his identity he wanted to keep it.

      Apparently his real voice (he finally lost the power of speech due to life saving surgery, rather than directly from his disease) was, "a rather cut-glass English one."

  59. Lars Silver badge

    No surprise he was a remainer with that brainpower.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft have a lot to answer to with this Patch Tuesday!!! Prof Hawking should have had auto-update turned off

    R.I.P. Prof Hawking

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hawking

    Is it possible, could the secret to interstellar travel lie somewhere in his published works, notes on his computer etc?

    Someone did suggest that perhaps Hawking entrusted his legacy to other scientists in the field of similar mindset in the hope that others will complete his work, so watch out for papers being released in the next couple of years.

    -END OF LINE-

  62. vincent himpe

    Somewhere in heaven ...

    God sits sulking on his throne. St Peter walks by and asks "What's wrong ? "

    God answers : We should never have let that Steven Hawking in here. He's barely been here an hour and already mathematically proved me i don't exist ...

  63. Michael Jarve

    An extraordinary man in extraordinary times.

    Today would have been my father's 60'th birthday, if he had lived another 3 years. That was reason enough to be reflective. That Stephen Hawking passed away makes even more so.

    Like many "nerdy" children of the 1980's and 1990's, I was enthralled by Hawking's celebrity and it encouraged me to pursue my own career in the sciences. Never mind his disabilities, his ability to think big thoughts and scale them down was more impressive to me. He made the most difficult physics and cosmology accessible to ordinary people, leaving them, if not more well informed (actually more likely baffled), then at least appreciative of the topics, which was in and of itself revolutionary. Einstein was similarly a celebrity scientist in his time, but was known more for his political positions and eccentricities than making high science science understandable. The only other champions of popular "hard science" I can think of are Carl Sagan and Niel Tyson.

    Like many other intensely brilliant people (from all backgrounds) he will, regardless of his religious position, live on for eternity in L-Space (whether he likes it or not), just as Sir Terry does.

  64. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Well, anyway: godspeed.

  65. Schultz

    If life gives you lemons, make lemonade

    Stephen Hawking showed us what you can do with your mind, even if life gives you a really, really hard time. Let him remain an inspiration for generations to come.

  66. Asterix the Gaul

    'Tooth Fairies'

    'Big Bang Theory' = Sigma - 5

    'God' = Sigma - 0

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