Physicist Stephen Hawking has died at 76

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He discovered that black holes are not completely black but emit radiation and will likely eventually evaporate and disappear and colaborated with physicist Roger Penrose to merge Einstein’s theory of relativity with quantum theory to suggest that space and time would begin with the Big Bang and end in black holes. Hawking suffered from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a neurodegenerative disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, which is usually fatal within a few years.

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Hawking was in a wheelchair and used a speech synthesizer that allowed him to speak in a computerized voice with an American accent. “I try to lead as normal a life as possible, and not think about my condition, or regret the things it prevents me from doing, which are not that many,” he wrote on his website. “I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space,” Hawking told in an interview. At Cambridge, he held the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics — the prestigious post held from 1669 to 1702 by Sir Isaac Newton. His life was dramatized in the 2014 movie, “The Theory of Everything.”

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