Today, a vacuum was left in the universe; a void in the shape of a man whose feeble body rests on a wheelchair. Despite his dormant state, his mind was alive – an active volcano behind the facade of peace and tranquillity.
Stephen Hawking was a paradox: A limitless mind in a limited body. He was an explorer travelling the stars in a broken vessel. He had a small frame but was a giant among men; a voiceless man whose echoes will reverberate throughout history.
His contributions to science were aplenty, but that is not what I am here to talk about today. What he offered to the universe was more than just his brilliant insights – He was a testament to, not only endless possibilities of the mind, but also the strength of will.
At a very young age, he had shown his brilliance. But unfortunately, sickness knows no bias, and at the age of 21, he was struck by a neurogenerative disease. It left him paralysed, but not terrified. More than anything else, it inspired him.
“Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research.”
You can find many anecdotes from peers of his wild driving, naughty riding over toes, and spins at parties. Understanding the fragility of his life taught him not to let anything get in his way. The failure of his body did not stop him from enjoying life, and most importantly, the prospering of his mind.
“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.”
There is so much that I want to say, but words seem to fail me right now. I understand that there should be no mourning in his passing, for the best that we can do is celebrate his discoveries and use them to advance. I would assume that that would be what he wants.
But you cannot help but feel the wave of sadness rippling through the universe, especially knowing that there could be many things hidden in that mind that he might have left unsaid. But for me, he has done more than enough for science – for us, for the world.
Out of all his insights, this was his most profound one yet:
“It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.”
To the mind that knows no boundaries, thank you for inspiring everyone. Rest in eternal peace. Your passing will be a silence louder than most.