The nerdiest thing about Stephen Hawking’s death is that it happened on Pi Day — March 14th, or 3/14, is known as Pi Day around the world. It’s almost as if Hawking managed to strike a deal with the universe for his passing. March 14th also happens to be the birthday of Albert Einstein, whose theory Hawking used to help shape his theory surrounding the birth of our universe.
Hawking’s death wasn’t entirely unexpected. He suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and he was once told by doctors that he would likely be dead by 1965. The genius scientist never let his disease interfere with his work or life. He was a successful author, and was married twice in spite of being unable to move or speak without the help of modern technology.
In short, everybody is sad to see Hawking go, well, nowhere — he famously compared the mind to a computer. And there’s no afterlife for old computers in his view. Our earlier coverage of professor Hawking’s passing touches on all that and more. In this post, you’ll find some of the most touching tributes we’ve come across so far from his family, friends, fellow scientists, and celebrities.
Lucy, Robert and Tim
“We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today,” Hawking’s children said in a statement. “He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world.”
“He once said: ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him for ever.”
“I feel so lucky to have known such a truly great man who’s profundity was found both in his work and the communication of that work,” Benedict Cumberbatch, who played the scientist in a BBC TV series, said. “Both in person and in books. My heartfelt love and condolences to all his family and colleagues.”
“We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet,” the actor who won an Oscar for playing Hawking said.
“Trying to understand Hawking’s discovery [Hawking radiation] better has been a source of much fresh thinking for almost 40 years now, and we are probably still far from fully coming to grips with it. It still feels new,” said Edward Witten, a theorist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
“What a triumph his life has been,” Martin Rees said. “His name will live in the annals of science; millions have had their cosmic horizons widened by his best-selling books; and even more, around the world, have been inspired by a unique example of achievement against all the odds — a manifestation of amazing willpower and determination.”
Reese was Cambridge University cosmologist, the astronomer royal of Britain and one of Hawking’s longtime colleagues.
“Not since Albert Einstein has a scientist so captured the public imagination and endeared himself to tens of millions of people around the world,” professor Michio Kaku told The New York Times.
“Remembering Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist and ambassador of science. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014,” NASA posted on its Twitter page.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
“His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it’s not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018,” Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted.
“These [a brilliant physicist who also excelled at communicating science to the public] are two distinct skills,” theoretical physicist Raphael Bousso told Nature. “Stephen excelled at both.”
“Stephen was a joyful and lighthearted person, not to be burdened by excessively respectful and convoluted interactions.”
Hawking’s “”exceptional contributions to scientific knowledge and the popularization of science and mathematics have left an indelible legacy,” the vice chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Stephen Toope, said.
The Big Bang Theory
“In loving memory of Stephen Hawking. It was an honor to have him on The #BigBangTheory. Thank you for inspiring us and the world,” reads a tweet from the official Twitter account for the show.
‘The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge. -Stephen Hawking. We will always be inspired by his life and ideas. RIP,” said Apple’s Tim Cook on Twitter.