Stephen Hawking is one of the names that has enriched the knowledge base of the world alone. One of the most famous living scientists and one of the greatest geniuses of all time. Hawking, a graduate of Oxford and Cambridge, received a dozen of the highest honors. Through his most popular book, A Brief History of Time, he popularized physics, astronomy, and quantum mechanics. You don't have to be a professor of physics to understand his book, I think his biggest contribution.
But in the beginning it was not understood that he was one of the best of all time. He admits that he did not work hard enough to study at Oxford. In his language, in his entire 3 years of education, he spent only 1000 hours behind his studies, on average only 1 hour per day! As a result, his final results were not very good, he was in a dilemma between first and second class, he was finally given first class when he convinced the committee that he would do research at Cambridge if he got first class.
Hawking enrolled at Cambridge in 1962. But it was at this time that one of the biggest traumas of his life became amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Doctors said that there is no cure for this disease but the condition will get worse day by day, he will live for two years!
When Hawking was first admitted to the hospital, a boy died of leukemia in front of his eyes. This small incident made a big impression on his mind, he kept thinking that he is not the only loser, there are many in worse condition than him. Hawking then remembers the boy in all the bad situations in his life. In a sense, the whole world should be grateful to the boy who died of leukemia.
Hawking started working hard without thinking ‘why is this happening to me’ like you and me because he didn’t have much time on his hands. Surprising to know that most of his scientific contributions were made the next time he was diagnosed with ALS! Although Hawking did not consider himself ill, ALS is a terrible disease. Hawking contracted pneumonia in 1985. Doctors gave up hope for his life, but Hawking returned, although pneumonia took away his ability to speak (he did not have the ability to type before). When this happened he was right in the middle of writing A Brief History of Time.
What would you do, if you didn't have the ability to write and speak, would you try to write a 250 page science book?
But Hawking did, with the help of a computer program that could write only 3 words a minute. With the help of this program, Hawking not only completed A Brief History of Time, but also wrote 8 more books and numerous academic articles.
Hawking explains his work in this way, ‘When you know that you will not live long, you will understand how important life is’. According to him, his physical disability has been more conducive to his work because he does not have to teach undergraduate students, does not have to sit on the inquiry committee, and as a result he can spend the whole time in research.
Any obstacles in life we actually give up, I think, it's not for me. Some close the door again and cry, ‘Why me!’ But there are some people who constantly challenge themselves and the barriers around them. They don't say 'why me', but 'try me'!
Hawking is happy with 3 children in his personal life. And that's probably why he's been living with this deadly disease for over 50 years. He did not make the mistake of trying his luck, but he did not give up, so he could say, "It has been a glorious time to be alive." .
Footnote 1 - Stephen Hawking is an atheist blogger. Although he made a lot of fog at first, he declared himself as an Atheist in 2014.
Footnote 2 - Those who have listened to Pink Floyd's Keep Talking song will know that Hawking's voice has been used there.