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Cambridge scientist Stephen Hawking dies aged 76

Renowned British physicist Professor Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76. He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday 14 March 2018.

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College pays tribute to 'wicked sense of humour' of a 'scientific phenomenon'

Flags are at half mast at the University of Cambridge. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Colleagues at The University of Cambridge have paid tribute to Professor Stephen Hawking as a "scientific phenomenon" who was "one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Einstein".

The renowned British physicist died peacefully at his home in Cambridge at the age of 76.

He was a fellow of Gonville and Caius, the university college which was his academic home for almost all of his working life. He described it as a "constant thread running through my life".

He became a fellow of Caius in October 1965, two years after being given an initial medical diagnosis suggesting he had just two years to live.

Today the college paid tribute to a man "whose wicked sense of humour enlivened High Table dinners and saw him spinning uproariously around hall in his wheelchair to the strains of a waltz at a college party".

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“Stephen’s loss is a great one for the college. Caius is Stephen – they have been intertwined for over 50 years.

“There is no doubt that Caius played a very important part in his life, from offering him his first opportunities as a research fellow, keeping him on when he needed support, and flying him back from a conference when he desperately needed medical help.

“Caius is very proud of having both the most famous biologist of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Francis Crick, and the most famous physicist of that period - indeed the most famous scientist since Einstein - Stephen Hawking.”

– Professor Sir Alan Fersht, Master of Caius
People have been signing a book of condolence at the University of Cambridge. Credit: ITV News Anglia

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Fellow Caius Professor Tim Pedley first met Professor Hawking as a research student in 1963.

He remembers his real voice - famously replaced by his trademark American-accented synthesiser as his motor neurone disease worsened.

“Stephen’s own voice was a rather cut-glass English one. By concentrating quite hard and trying to be sensitive to what he was trying to communicate, a few Fellows could interpret what he was saying.

“In College meetings, it was sometimes necessary for us to repeat what he said.”

– Professor Tim Pedley

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