British physicist Stephen Hawking passed away on March 14, 2018. His death at the age of 76 deeply shocked his admirers as well as those in the scientific community.
Hawking, who had battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for over five decades, was told he had less than three years to live when he was first diagnosed. However, he didn’t let the disease stop him from becoming an icon in the scientific community.
The physicist has linked quantum mechanics (which focuses on how electrons and positrons work) to the theory of relativity, like this The edge. This remains one of his greatest achievements.
Hawking’s book A brief history of time was an international bestseller and has remained influential since it was first published in the 1980s. The book was very popular with readers because it simplified complex theories about the origin of the universe, black holes and other topics.
Aside from immense contributions to physics, Hawking has also been a pop culture icon, appearing on several shows including The big Bang Theory and The simpsons.
Stephen Hawking’s contribution to the scientific community will always be valuable. On the anniversary of his death, here are some of his groundbreaking theories:
- In the 1960s, Hawking, along with Roger Penrose, applied Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity to the origin of the cosmos. The theory implied that space and time would begin with the Big Bang and end with black holes.
- According to Hawking, if the universe emanated from a singularity, or a single infinitely small point, questions about what was before the big bang were useless.
- He also gave more solid mathematical support to the idea of black holes, first theorized by Albert Einstein in 1916.
- Hawking also showed that black holes do indeed emit radiation. The phenomenon was later named Hawking radiation in his honor. The physicist also discovered that black holes can explode and die. His ideas also led to the discovery that black holes are not actually black, but “incandescent.”
- Hawking theorized that black hole event horizons, “the limit beyond which nothing can ever escape,” could never shrink. This later became known as Hawking’s area theorem. In 2021, physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology confirmed the theory.
- Hawking also postulated that when a star dies, its mass collapses into a singularity, which then leads to the formation of a black hole.
His work has made black holes more understandable to both the scientific community and the general public.
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