There is more to life than music, and for me science is a big part of it. Stephen Hawking‘s death at 76 is a massive loss for the world in general, and for cosmology and physics in particular. He revolutionized our view of the universe, and yet his appearance on The Simpsons was only one example of his notorious sense of humour. Pretty amazing for a guy who was given 2 years to live at the age of 21!
I had an early interest in the Theory of Relativity, and found Einstein’s book a wonderful explanation of it. After that I increased my understanding of it and also taught myself Quantum Mechanics with the help of Stephen Hawking’s writing (as well as that of John Gribbin and Roger Penrose). After all, the point of a Ph.D. is to get you to the point where you can learn on your own without a teacher or supervisor looking over your shoulder. You have probably heard of (and may own) Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, which admittedly is not an easy read, but if you find it too tough and yet remain interested I recommend his A Briefer History of Time, which gives the basic ideas in more detail plus updates the cosmology and includes string theory.
The cartoon above is actually the start of a short feature on Hawking’s major discoveries (here with Roger Penrose). You can watch the video and read about Stephen Hawking’s incredible life on that page as well by clicking here.