Early on in his life, physicist Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The debilitating disease left him wheelchair-bound and paralyzed, but the science visionary didn’t let that stop him from working wonders through his life. One of his first contributions to physics was his thesis that expanded the theory of singularity first posed by Roger Penrose. From his dissertation, Hawking received a fellowship at Gonville and Caius College and earned his Ph.D. in applied mathematics and theoretical physics with a focus in general relativity and cosmology.
Over the course of his life, which sadly ended on March 14, 2018, Hawking’s name became attached to various formulas and scientific theories including the Bekenstein-Hawking formula and Gibbons-Hawking effect. He was also known for his grim outlook on the future of humanity. In 2006, he turned to the internet with an open question: “In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?”
Though Hawking may appear more subdued when it comes to touting his earnings and successes, the latest reports of his net worth from TheRichest in 2016 alleged that the physicist was worth an estimated $20 million. According to Inverse, a good portion of his overall worth came from his accomplishments over the years, including winning the Fundamental Physics Prize in 2012, authoring several bestselling books like A Brief History of Time, producing films, and partaking in many talks, for which he earns a fee. Hawking also headed research at the Center for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, published a children’s book intended to make theoretical physics accessible to a younger crowd, and launched Breakthrough Initiatives with the intention of searching for extraterrestrial life.
Despite Hawking’s proficiency and reverence in the field of physics, he wasn’t always on the right side of an argument. In 1964, after Peter Higgs proposed the existence of a particle dubbed the Higgs boson. Hawking was so adamantly against Higgs’ proposal that he bet that it would never be discovered. After two public debates, held in 2002 and 2008, Higgs claimed that Hawking’s “celebrity status” made it easy for the scientific community to believe his theories. In 2012, Hawking was left praising Higgs after the Large Hadron Collider discovered Higgs’ mysterious particle.
Some of his more recent accomplishments include earning an Honorary Doctorate from Imperial College London, producing Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth for Tomorrow's World, and becoming the first person with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to go to space.
The English physicist passed away at the age of 76 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.