Remembering the Legacy of Stephen Hawking

Josh Duke

With the news of Stephen Hawking's passing today, there is undoubtedly a void in the scientific community. Yet, just as Hawking hypothesized that black holes can get smaller and eventually disappear, so too will this void shrink as young scientists build off of Hawking's tremendous legacy. FSU's College of Education does its part to help inspire the next generation of students, including its FSU-Teach program, which helps students get ready to teach math and science. Now more than ever, the world needs scientists who can help unravel the mysteries of the universe and follow in the footsteps of the late physicist.

Hawking understood the universe in a way few of us can ever hope'and in more ways than one. For a man who was supposed to die in his 20s, Hawking undoubtedly had an appreciation for life and made the most of it, making discoveries that forever changed the course of science. Those who knew him personally cite his humor as one of his defining characteristics, and the public at large saw glimpses of his personality in his many appearances on television programs. He became a celebrity in his own right, particularly after publishing his best-selling book, A Brief History of Time.

One of the most important lessons that Hawking espoused was the importance of making mistakes. One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect, he said. Perfection simply doesn't exist. Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist. In his professional life, Hawking made a number of claims that would be challenged. Sometimes he was proven right, and other times he would be wrong. However, many would argue that his courage to make conjectures helped move the entire scientific community forward, even if other physicists would eventually prove him wrong. Sometimes, having the courage and intelligence to start a conversation can be the most important step to making new discoveries.

It is perhaps fitting that Hawking passed away on Pi Day, which celebrates a mathematical constant that stretches on to infinity. Much like the great scientists that came before him, Hawking will forever be remembered for his contributions to understanding of the universe. , .