TORONTO – Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who died early today at his home in Cambridge, England at the age of 76, elevated Canada’s profile in the physics community in 2008 when he accepted a research post at the country’s “crown jewel” of theoretical physics study.
Hawking took on the title of distinguished research chair at the prestigious Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo and visited the facility in the summer of 2010 and again in 2012.
His arrival in 2010 came several months after the institute named a new wing at its Waterloo facility after the wheelchair-bound scientist.
“I am getting to know Waterloo well and it is clear to me that this place is special.”#UWaterloo is saddened by the news that scientist, and forever #WRAwesome friend, Stephen Hawking has passed away. Much like the universe he studied, his work will live on into infinity. pic.twitter.com/raD5ktZStw
— University of Waterloo (@UWaterloo) March 14, 2018
Perimeter Institute is deeply saddened by the passing of a truly inspirational friend and colleague, Stephen Hawking. pic.twitter.com/W8lsTHrwcM
— Perimeter Institute (@Perimeter) March 14, 2018
In a video conference prior to his visit, Hawking said the institute’s chosen focus on quantum theory and space-time was close to his heart.
Hawking, who also visited the underground SNOLAB neutrino observatory in Sudbury, Ont., in 1998 and 2012, became a scientific celebrity through his theories on black holes and the nature of time, work that he carried on despite becoming paralyzed by motor neurone disease.
His 1988 book “A Brief History of Time” was an international bestseller; “A Briefer History of Time,” intended to be more accessible, followed in 2005.
His early life was chronicled in the 2014 film “The Theory of Everything,” with Eddie Redmayne winning the best actor Academy Award for his portrayal of the scientist.
“Saddened to learn of the passing of Stephen Hawking,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a tweet.
“(He) taught us the endless possibilities of our own curiosity. He will continue to inspire generations to come.”
— GGJuliePayette (@GGJuliePayette) March 14, 2018
— Dave Jaworsky (@DaveJaworsky) March 14, 2018
Like so many, I was inspired by his first book to learn more about science, physics and the edges of our universe. His life and work taught us to dream big, to think nothing was impossible, and to forever change how we perceive our world. Thank you Prof. Hawking. https://t.co/F5Gxg5t8Dc
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 14, 2018