for Stephen Hawking
January 08, 1942 – March 14, 2018
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
You could not speak
nor move your limbs,
Imperfect as we saw you,
you were a child of God.
You were no accident
of some inept potter’s wheel,
you were a vessel
designed to house a brain,
and a heart, and
a soul, no doubt about it. You
were gifted with childlike wonder and
an ironclad will … and humor.
For all the relativity
of your quantum quarks,
(Oh what a universe, your mind!)
you struggled to know the mind of God.
A Brief History of Time, you said
was most bought, least read book
of all time. I bought it
and read it again and again,
Stretching my understanding
with each read, and even then
I felt my limitations, and amazement
at each new equation.
Through all the pages, understood and not,
it was clear you were looking for God.
At last you have found him;
at last you’re free from gravity.
” Hawking’s run of radical discoveries led to his election in 1974 to the Royal Society at the young age of 32. Five years later, he became the Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, arguably Britain’s most distinguished chair, and one formerly held by Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage and Paul Dirac, the latter one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics.
Hawking’s seminal contributions continued through the 1980s. The theory of cosmic inflation holds that the fledgling universe went through a period of terrific expansion. In 1982, Hawking was among the first to show how quantum fluctuations – tiny variations in the distribution of matter – might give rise through inflation to the spread of galaxies in the universe. In these tiny ripples lay the seeds of stars, planets and life as we know it.
But it was A Brief History of Time that rocketed Hawking to stardom. 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. It sold 10m copies and was translated into 40 different languages. Nevertheless, wags called it the greatest unread book in history. ”
Excerpted from an article in The Guardian