Stephen Hawking – Struggle Against Disability And Superstition


Stephen Hawking

‘I have noticed that even people who claim that everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, lok before they cross the road ‘

From Black Holes and Baby Universes and other Essays

‘If you are disabled, it is probably not your fault , but it is no good to blame the world or expecting it to take pity on you ….’

From ‘Handicapped people and Science’ ‘science Digest 92 No.9 September 1984

It is rare that handicapped persons promote science and progress. They are usually involved in religion and preaching. But there are exceptions like Stephen Hawking who are not only pioneers in scientific contribution to society but also speak vehemently against religious dogmatism. In his discussion with Dianne Sawyer/ ABC news 2010, Hawking said , ” There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, ( and) science, which is based on observance and reason. Science will win because it works” .

Brief sketch

Stephen William Hawking ( born 8 January 1942) family struggled due to lack of sufficient financial resources. But that did not became a constraint in his schooling. At the age of 21, while he was in graduation, he was diagnosed with ‘ motor neuron disease’ and doctors predicted that he would not live longer. This left him depressed but he was encouraged and supported by Sciama, a physicist and his superior.

Hawkings contributed a lot to quantum physics. He s known for Hawkings radiation, Penrose – Hawkings theorems, Hawkings energy, etc. He wrote many books like ‘A brief histiry of time’,’ Universe in a Nutshell’ , ‘ God created the Integers,’ etc. He also wrote many articles and gave lectures.

Lessons from his life

Though he is paralysed and cannot live without external support, Hawking zeal for learning, writing and reading is praiseworthy and commendable. His multiple disability did not stop him from contributing to the world of physical science and cosmology and astronomy. His ‘The grand Design’ has been a popular work which he co- authored with Leonardo Miodinow. He also wrote books for children.

Social work

He has been a pioneer in assisting disabled through various organisations. He raised funds for the poor and deprived. He also addressed environmental problems. He is politically and socially active even now and participates in discussions.

Stephen Hawking has been a role model to many handicapped persons. His life is an example to prove that ‘ when there is a will, there is a way’. His scientific temper should be imbibed by all, particularly handicapped who are indoctrinated with dogma and are made to believe that disability is a sin committed in past incarnations or ordained by God. If there is determination, as Hawking proved, nothing can stop from leading a meaningful valuable life .

Sheshu Babu is a writer from anywhere and everywhere

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