We are extremely saddened to hear that world-renowned physicist Professor Stephen Hawking passed away today.
Famous for his work with black holes and relativity, Professor Hawking inspired many people to look beyond our planet and understand space and the universe better.
Despite living for many years with motor neurone disease, his achievements are remarkable. His brilliant mind and determination shaped the course of physics for 40 years. His book A Brief History of Time has sold more than ten million copies since it was published in 1988.
Tributes from OU academics
The Open University (OU) Professor in Planetary Sciences, Monica Grady says, “Stephen Hawking did not allow his physical disability to limit his achievements. On the contrary, it seemed to spur him on, and in this, he became a significant inspiration for others struggling with their own disabilities.”
OU Professor of Planetary Geosciences, David Rothery says, “I wish we could write course materials that are half as lucid and as widely-read as Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. Stephen was influential in so many fields. His views on contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence feature in the new edition of one of our level 2 planetary science course (S283) books, and will be used for the first time in October 2018.”
OU Professor of Atmospheric Physics, Stephen Lewis was lucky enough to attend the same College in the 1980s where Hawking was a fellow – and has contributed data to Lucy Hawking’s next book on Mars exploration. “I was saddened to learn this morning of the death of Stephen Hawking,” he says. “He was a lively and engaging character, who did so much to open up public interest in an apparently arcane area of physics. In his own words: “…we can understand the universe. That makes us something very special”.”
The OU is one of the top three university space science centres in the UK. Read more about space science and exploration, one of our key research themes.