English physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking dead at 76


Stephen Hawking, who has died aged 76, was Britain's most famous modern day scientist, a genius who dedicated his life to unlocking the secrets of the Universe.

He died at his home in England on Wednesday, his family announced.

Professor Hawking contracted motor neurone disease in 1963 and was given two years to live but he went on to study at Cambridge and became one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Albert Einstein.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today condoled the demise of cosmologist Stephen Hawking and said his grit and tenacity inspired people all over the world.

"This complete set of laws can give us the answers to questions like how did the universe begin", he said.

Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S.

Published for the first time in 1988, the title made the Guinness Book of Records after it stayed on the Sunday Times bestsellers list for an unprecedented 237 weeks.

The best-known theoretical physicist of his time, Hawking wrote so lucidly of the mysteries of space, time and black holes that his book, "A Brief History of Time", became an worldwide bestseller, making him one of science's biggest celebrities since Albert Einstein.

His primary contributions were understanding the connections between thermosdynamics, black holes and quantum mechanics, Easther said.

He also explained that he was able to change the accent of his computer when the technology advanced, but he decided against it.

"Professor Stephen Hawking was an outstanding scientist and academic".

"Alongside the benefits, AI will also bring dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many", Hawking said in 2016, at the opening of a new AI research centre at Cambridge University.

He relished making cameo apparitions on television shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory.

Beyond scientific debate Hawking also weighed into politics, describing Donald Trump as "a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator" ahead of his election as United States president.

"His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake", said Neil deGrasse Tyson. "Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure". It sold 10 million copies and was translated into 40 different languages. He received his PhD in applied mathematics/theoretical physics, with specialty in general relativity and cosmology from the University of Cambridge in 1966, and was appointed to a professorship there in 1977. "We have lost an unbelievable human being".