Stephen Hawking is a name we all know. As one of the greatest modern minds of our time, he inspired many around the globe.
We spoke to some of Macquarie’s researchers to hear how he impacted their lives personally.
“When are theoretical physicists household names? Almost never, but Stephen Hawking was among the few. The physics he studied was the type that is hard to imagine or even have a mental model for. How can you think about a point with huge mass and no size? Most of the great ideas he contributed to humanity were rooted in mathematics, perhaps the only perfect description of reality. His mind, like that of very few, so attuned to this representation of the world that he could discover black holes within it, without ever having to look. And alongside these insights, he managed to inspire millions with his books and presentations. I for one grew up with them and, like many others, I was inspired to pursue a career in physics. What a legacy to leave behind!” – Professor Orsola De Marco
“In addition to Professor Stephen Hawking’s invaluable scientific contributions, his wisdom on life also made a profound impact on me. In a lecture titled ‘A Brief History of Mine‘ given during the Starmus Festival at Tenerife, Spain, in 2016, Professor Hawking said: ‘Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up’. Professor Hawking lives on through his legacy.” – Dr Devika Kamath
“His story is quite amazing! it shows that what really counts is the ‘inside’, not what someone looks like or can (or cannot) do physically. Despite all of the adversity he encountered, he continued to produce high-level science and simultaneously engage numerous different audiences. I think that those are the attributes of a good scientist; leave the ivory tower and enthuse other audiences about your research! He was clearly held in awe, not just by the general public, but in response to his untimely death, a good friend and colleague scientist of mine in China referred to him as ‘The Ghost of God’. – Professor Richard de Grijs