Professor Stephen Hawking, a man who defined all odds – has died aged 76.
He was one of the most respected and best known scientists of his age.
The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and relativity – he also wrote several popular science books including – A Brief History of Time.
He received honorary degrees, medals, prizes and awards throughout his career and was honoured with a CBE in 1982.
At the age of 22 Prof Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease.
The illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser
Prof Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics.
He also discovered that black holes leak energy and fade to nothing – a phenomenon that would later become known as Hawking radiation.
Through his work with mathematician Sir Roger Penrose, he demonstrated that Einstein’s general theory of relativity implies space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes.
The scientist gained popularity outside the academic world and appeared in several TV shows including The Simpsons, Red Dwarf and The Big Bang Theory.
In 2007, British physicist Stephen Hawking took a Parabolic flight (a specially modified jet that dives through the sky to give passengers an experience of zero gravity)!
British astronaut Tim Peake said Prof Hawking “He inspired generations to look beyond our own blue planet and expand our understanding of the universe”.
He added: “His personality and genius will be sorely missed. My thoughts are with his family”.