THE LATEST THINKING
The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.
Stephen Hawking, arguably the most famous scientist of our time, passed away this past Wednesday.
He has become a contradiction as a man who is well-known around the world yet one whose ideas are barely understood by the general public. His theories on black holes and relativity have changed our understanding of the universe and yet very few people can grasp the intangible workings of his mind. I want to take this time to acknowledge another great influence Stephen Hawking has had on society. One that is easier to grasp and yet rarely acknowledged: Professor Hawking’s long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS. I have no intention of reducing one’s identity to the nature of their health but I think that it is important to acknowledge that the way Stephen Hawking lived his life defied stereotypes that often are succumbed to those with disabilities.
In the US it can be extremely difficult for those with disabilities to be supported the way they need. It is often hard to get jobs, to find a balance between health and work and to be recognized as the person beneath their exterior. Hawking has always been recognized for his incredible mind becoming an amazing role model for those that need one. He has shown others that suffer from ALS or that are confined to a chair that you are not limited due to circumstance, that you are more than your illness, and that humor creates life. He has shown us that a disability is really not a disability at all but a way to channel your energy into an abled presence. That being differently abled can give you a new perspective and can be a gift to the world.
Stephen Hawking: Thank you for all that you have given the world. You will forever be remembered and revered.