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

Donations to Motor Neurone Disease charity soar after death of Prof Stephen Hawking

Credit: PA

The Motor Neurone Disease Association says it has had an influx of donations this morning following the death of Professor Stephen Hawking.

The charity, based in Northampton, says it's had so much traffic over the past couple of hours the website has now crashed. Professor Hawking became Patron of MND Association in 2008.

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Prof Hawking survived for around half a century after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), despite being told he had just years to live when he was diagnosed

"All of us at the MND Association have been extremely saddened by the news of Professor Hawking's passing. Through so many years in the public eye he did a huge amount to raise awareness of motor neurone disease, yet he never allowed himself to be defined by his illness. His approach to life with MND is an example to all of us."

– Sally Light, chief executive, MND Association

The disease kills a third of people within a year and more than half within two years of diagnosis. Yet Prof Hawking was diagnosed with the condition in his early 20s and lived until he was 76.

The condition is fatal, and usually progresses rapidly, affecting the brain and spinal cord.

The MND Association states that the condition affects everyone differently - not all symptoms will affect everyone and symptoms progress at varying speeds.

It affects around 5,000 people in the UK. There is no cure for MND and there is not a clear answer about what causes the condition.


Stars tweet tributes to Professor Stephen Hawking

Eddie Redmayne said Credit: PA

Social media feeds are this morning awash with tributes to Professor Stephen Hawking, who died at home in Cambridge this morning.

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Book of condolence to open at Cambridge college for Fellow Professor Stephen Hawking

Professor Hawking pictured by the Corpus Clock in Cambridge in 2008 Credit: PA

Professor Stephen Hawking was "an inspiration to millions" and his work will leave "an indelible legacy", the University of Cambridge has said.

The acclaimed physicist died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday morning, at the age of 76.

A book of condolence will open at Cambridge University Credit: PA

Prof Hawking first arrived at the University of Cambridge in 1962 as a PhD student, and rose through the ranks to become the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a position once held by Sir Isaac Newton, in 1979.

He retired from this position in 2009, and became the Dennis Stanton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research in the department of applied mathematics and theoretical physics until his death.

"Professor Hawking was a unique individual who will be remembered with warmth and affection not only in Cambridge but all over the world. His exceptional contributions to scientific knowledge and the popularisation of science and mathematics have left an indelible legacy. His character was an inspiration to millions. He will be much missed."

– Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor, Cambridge University
The flag at Gonville & Caius is flying at half-mast this morning Credit: ITV Anglia

Prof Hawking was a fellow at the university's Gonville and Caius College, where a book of condolence is due to be opened. This morning the flag at the college is at half-mast.

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