Foremost astronomer and physicist would have celebrated his 80th birthday on January 8, 2022, if he was alive – but Google celebrated the occasion for him with a spectacular doodle. The doodle – an aimless drawing – was created by Mathew Cruickshank and put up on the Google search page on Saturday, January 8.
“Today’s video Doodle celebrates one of history’s most influential scientific minds, English cosmologist, author, and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking,” Google wrote in a statement. “From colliding black holes to the Big Bang, his theories on the origins and mechanics of the universe revolutionized modern physics, while his best-selling books made the field widely accessible to millions of readers worldwide.”
A globally celebrated cosmologist and mathematician, Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England – exactly 300 years after the death of astronomer Galileo Galilei. He studied cosmology at the University of Cambridge in 1963 but was diagnosed with motor neuron disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), popularly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease when he was under 21 years old.
Doctors predicted that he would only live for two more years, but Hawking finished his doctorate degree in 1965 and worked at Cambridge. The university conferred on him the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics – the most famous academic chair in the world – in 1979, a position held by Isaac Newton in 1669. His work on the black hole and the big bang in addition to Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity earned him great renown.
In 1985, Hawking was confined to a wheelchair, and he became unable to speak again following emergency archaeometry. He was only able to be heard through the use of a speech-generating device manufactured at Cambridge University and a software program; this became his electronic voice and activated by his cheek muscles.
Hawkings had said that his “expectations were reduced to zero at 21. Everything since then has been a bonus. Although I cannot move, and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free. I have spent my life traveling across the universe inside my mind. My goal is simple: It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”
The cosmologist and astronomer appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation and a cameo on the television show Big Bang Theory and wrote several popular books, including A Brief History of Time which sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.
“We think he would have loved the Doodle and been very entertained to see his long, distinguished life expressed so creatively in this briefest history of all, a two-minute animation!” said Hawking’s daughter Lucy and sons Robert and Tim.