March 14, 2018 8:03 am
Updated: March 14, 2018 12:26 pm

Stephen Hawking helped raise Canada’s profile in physics community

ABOVE: British physicist Stephen Hawking has died aged 76. Paralyzed as a young man, he was famous around the world for his brilliant scientific mind.

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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, Ont., and visited the facility in the summer of 2010 and again in 2012.

READ MORE: Noted physicist Stephen Hawking dies at age 76

His arrival in 2010 came several months after the institute named a new wing at its Waterloo facility after the wheelchair-bound scientist.

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.

LISTEN: Dr. Robert Brandenberger joins 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen to remember Stephen Hawing

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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.

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.”

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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