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Just over one year after the death of Stephen Hawking, scientists have officially photographed a black hole for the first time this April.  In 1963 Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with ALS, and was told he had two years to live. Despite that, Stephen Hawking made a huge impact on science over five decades.  One of the areas he was best known for is in the study of black holes.

How Stephen Hawking Changed the World

He proved the existence of gravitational singularities.  Stephen Hawking, alongside Roger Penrose, proved the existence of singularities.  Singularities, or one-dimensional points that contain a huge mass in an infinitely small space, are at the center of black holes.

He co-discovered the laws of black hole mechanics. Alongside James Bardeen and Brandon Carter, he outlined the four laws of black hole mechanics.

He discovered Hawking radiation.  Hawking radiation is the radiation that should be emitted by a black hole. Due to the black hole capturing one of a particle-antiparticle pair created spontaneously near to the event horizon, radiation is emitted.

He backed up the theory of cosmic inflation.  The theory of cosmic inflation is a theory of exponential expansion of space in the early universe that started with the big bang.  Alan Guth put forward the theory of cosmic inflation to fix problems with the theory of the big bang. However, there was still a problem with the theory.  Stephen Hawking backed up Alan Guth’s theory by proposing that there’s no end, or beginning, at all our cosmos.

He changed the model physicists use to think about the universe with James Hartle.  Hawking developed the Hartle-Hawking model of our early universe. The model hypothesized that time did not exist and the universe had no time or spatial boundaries at its birth. Thus, our concept of a “beginning” to the universe is pointless. Today, the theory is still upheld.

Hawking ranked 25th out 100 Best Britons by the BBC. Hawking shares the honor with Alexander Graham Bell, Sir David Attenborough, Alan Turing, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and Winston Churchill.


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