On Tuesday night, the scientific community lost one of its most influential figures. But scientists' tributes to Stephen Hawking vow that his influence on the field — and on their own learning experiences — will never die. Astronomers, astronauts, and physicists honored not only his mind-blowing findings about black holes and relativity, but also his optimistic outlook on life.
Following his family's announcement of his death in Cambridge, The Guardian reported, the University's vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Toope pretty accurately summed up how people are remembering Hawking and his legacy.
Professor Hawking was a unique individual who will be remembered with warmth and affection not only in Cambridge but all over the world. His exceptional contributions to scientific knowledge and the popularisation of science and mathematics have left an indelible legacy. His character was an inspiration to millions.
Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for 30 years up until 2009. Still, after he retired, he never truly slowed down. For example, in 2015 he helped create a documentary on space colonization, Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth, and even continued proposing new theories about black holes. And less than a year before he died, Imperial College London gave him an honorary doctorate.
Now, his fellow scientists want to make sure his musings inspire the future generation to be fascinated by the universe too. Here are just some of the ways they paid homage.
"A Kind Of Vacuum..."
Tyson is himself a force to be reckoned with in the world of science. Here, he uses the definition of a black hole to describe the empty space Hawking's passing left.
"Making Complex Theories ... More Accessible"
The Microsoft CEO, who was once in charge of building's the program's computing platforms, pointed out how Hawking made complicated matters more accessible to people.
"That Says Something"
As an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Jonathan McDowell traveled back to the time he actually saw Hawking give a lecture. By that time, Hawking had to rely on a computer system to communicate with people for him. He was unable to use his own voice. According to The Sun, he used his cheek to control the computer screen.
"Successful Communicator & Scientist"
This astrophysicist based in Sydney, Australia, praised Hawking's ability to communicate with his audiences, even though it was anything but easy.
Fueling The "Courage For A Career In Astrophysics"
The astrophysicist even mentioned on Twitter that he got to have lunch with Hawking once.
"Stephen Hawking was born on the 300th death anniversary of Galileo Galilei, and died on the 139th birth anniversary of Albert Einstein," he noted in another tweet. "Gravity is indeed deterministic."
"Quite A Character"
Hawking spoke at the Royal Institution in London when he was nearly 74 years old and one of his quotes seems to sum up his personality pretty well.
"Well, I am not sure I have ever been called an introvert before," he said. "Just because I spent a lot of time thinking doesn't mean I don't like parties and getting into trouble."
The Planetary Society couldn't have said it any better.
Hawking studied a universe that extends past the planet we call home. And when you look at the big picture, you can see why Earth is sometimes referred to as a "pale blue dot." There's just so much more out there waiting to be discovered.