Saluting a genius

Turning 70 is no great landmark event in the life time of an ordinary mortal but it is the stuff miracles are made for a person who was not given more than three years to live when he was 21.

The survival of Stephen Hawking for many decades would astound the medical world, but the medical marvel pales before the brilliance of the mind that tried to answer some of the most difficult questions about ourselves and the universe. The almost vegetative state of his body was no handicap for Hawking in formulating very important insights in high physics and cosmology.

There is a view that it is the disability of his body that sharpened and quickened his mind and made him find solutions to some intractable problems. It is a hypothesis which does not in any case detract from the importance of the work Hawking has done and the greatness of the man who has become the most appealing modern day symbol of the aspirations of the humans spirit, its defiance of destiny and the hope that the mysteries of the universe will one day be unravelled.

Hawking is considered the greatest scientist of the last century after Einstein and is among the masters like Newton who changed perceptions and created new matrixes of reality. Much of his work was on gravity, black holes, space time continuum and arcane topics that challenge a common man’s understanding.

He is one of the best popularisers of the exotic science that cosmology had turned into in the 20th century and still continues to be. ‘A Brief History of Time’ was a best seller and is still a standard exposition of the working of the universe by one of the best minds we have among our midst.

The entire world of science greeted Hawking when he turned 70 on Sunday. But the day was one of inspiration not just for people of science but for others too. His power of communication further deteriorated around the birth day and he is finding it almost impossible to translate a thought and idea into a word. But the man who understood the nature of time better than others with his equations would not easily give up. The whole world wishes him more time to stare into the mysteries of time and space.

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