Stephen W. Hawking was a physicist and best-selling author, roaming the cosmos from within the confines of his wheelchair while pondering the answers to the universe’s greatest questions. He passed away at the age of seventy-six on March 14, 2018, leaving behind his legacy of curiosity and human determination. Not since Einstein has a scientist so enraptured the imagination of the public, endearing himself to literally millions of people all over the world.
In 1963, when Hawking was a promising graduate student, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a very rare disease which impacts the nervous system, weakening muscles and affecting physical function. He was only expected to live a couple more years. However, Hawking ended up beating all the odds, living another fifty-five years, although the disease had reduced his bodily control to that of a single finger, which he could still flex, and voluntary eye movements. Even though he lost control of the rest of his body, his mind and mental faculties were left untouched.
In “The Preciousness of Time: A Stephen Hawking Tribute, you can hear him tell a small part of his story and the importance of knowing how precious our time is, which is how it begins. Hawking says he is very aware of the preciousness of time. He went on to explain how he’d only been give two to three years to live and that he faced a life of being unable to communicate. Nonetheless, he shows gratitude for having his mind not be affected by the disease.
He goes on to talk about how he would get lost inside his own mind, imagining how the universe works. He says it’s human nature to adapt and so he did. He continues by saying we only have one life to appreciate what he calls the grand design of the universe, which he says there is still plenty more to learn about the universe and its secrets.
Hawking says we are all time travelers as we all are heading into the future and that we need to work together in order to make the future a place we want to be. He also admits he believes it is our destiny to leave Earth, making a new home on another planet. He believed that our greatest adventure was yet to come.
He ends with great advice for everyone: for us not to look down at our feet, but instead, up at the stars, to keep wondering how the universe exists, to try to make sense of things, and to stay curious.