Wednesday, March 21, 2018

RIP Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking, world renowned physicist and best selling author from Cambridge University, passed away early last Wednesday, March 14th, at the age of 76. Know for his theories on how the universe became what it is, or how black holes work, Hawking captured the public's attention and was one of the more popularly known scientists since maybe Albert Einstein. But Hawking was not only known for his work in physics, he was also known for living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, and more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease which involves the gradual deterioration and death of motor neurons throughout the body. These motor neurons provide communication between the brain and the body, and allow actions such as walking, talking, breathing, chewing, or any body movements to occur. Patients with ALS have a life expectancy of around 2 to 5 years after diagnosis due to problems such as malnutrition, dehydration, or respiratory failure. This all just makes Hawking's 76 year life even more remarkable considering he was diagnosed with ALS at age 21.

Hawking not only defied the odds by living with ALS for 55 years, but he also showed us how little we really know about the disease. He noted on several occasions that not knowing how much longer he had to live only motivated him more to live a rich life and to hurry and continue with his life's works. Perhaps we should all be doing the same.

Posted by Michael Magnant




  1. I read a book called Tuesdays with Morrie in middle school, which is a memoir about a professor with ALS. Like Stephen Hawking, Morrie also adapted the mentality of living life to the fullest, despite having ALS. Your blog article brings up a very important point that one’s mental state has a huge impact in one’s physical health. Changing our perspectives can greatly affect how we live everyday life. Although Stephen Hawking and Morrie have applied this mental thinking to their lives due to ALS, it is important for everyone to adapt this way of thinking in everyday life so that we could our lives in potentially more fulfulling ways.

    -Angelina Weng (3)

  2. Stephen Hawking is undoubtably an incredible man. The fact that he lived 21 years after his diagnosis when the average is just 2 to 5 years just truly shows though. As much as I believe this man is a fighter, I wonder what portion of his fortune allowed him to live 4 times longer than his life expectancy? Surely someone who couldn't afford any of the treatments as he did maybe would not have lived nearly as long.
    -Katherine Patota (2)

  3. I have always heard the name Stephen Hawking, but I never knew what he was famous for. Before reading this article, I have actually never heard of the Lou Gehrig's Disease. It almost sounds like a less malignant version of cancer, but having only 2-5 years of living after being diagnosed is so alarming and depressing. It's crazy how he was diagnosed at the age of 21, but he happened to living for 50+ more years! Maybe sometimes miracles do happen. I wonder what treatments he had to endure over the last 50 years or if he just tried to live his life as normal as possible and was still able to living so much longer than predicted.
    -Catherine Tsang (3)

  4. Stephen Hawking was such an incredible and inspiring man. His life, his motivation to work hard, and his natural intelligence left a huge impact on the world, and it's truly sad that his presence is gone. One of his most famous works, "A Brief History of Time" explained his ideology on the future of the human race. One thing I thought was very interesting was how he thought the human race would do extremely well if we can survive the next 200 years and figure out how to live in space. Hawking believed in time travel and that human beings may even colonize on our planets in the future. That's a pretty trippy concept if you ask me, but fascinating nonetheless! I think it's safe to say that the world will indeed miss him greatly.

    - Nicole Ayres (1)

  5. Stephen Hawking was one of the most inspiring and influential scientists in my lifetime. He made innumerable contributions to science that were extremely valuable, and did so while battling an extremely debilitating disease that we know very little about. I recall reading that Hawking initially lost his voice, and had to speak through a specifically engineered computer. While gradually losing his motor ability, he eventually started using his cheek muscles to move the cursor on his computer, which then vocalized what he was saying. His perseverance and continuation to keep being an extremely important member in society is admirable!

    - Rund Tawfiq (3)