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Queen’s professor, Nobel Prize winner in physics, remembers Stephen Hawking

2015 Nobel laureate Art McDonald, professor emeritus at Queen's University talks about friend and colleague Stephen Hawking.

The remarkable life and mind of Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist known for writing about space, black holes and time, has died.

He meant different things to different people and that included Art McDonald, the 2015 Nobel laureate and a professor emeritus at Queen’s University in Kingston.

He met Hawking on a couple of occasions, in fact, both times McDonald played tour guide for him up north in Sudbury.

“Stephen Hawking visited our underground laboratory ‘Snolab’ in 1998 and 2012. He went underground two kilometres, asked excellent questions of our students when he was there — he’s absolutely remarkable in terms of his spirit, and sense of humour was wonderful.”

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Wednesday was a tough day for McDonald as he fielded calls and emails from around the world asking about Hawking, a friend and colleague. He described him as a wonderful individual, someone that was a pleasure to interact with. McDonald says Hawking helped to make science “cool,” and he was also inspirational.

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“He interacted with the general public through the Big Bang Theory, through the Simpsons, through humour in a way they portrayed them — it was perfectly natural to be portrayed that way. And yet, he was interesting the general public in the science that he was talking about.”

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READ MORE: Stephen Hawking: A brief history of inspiration

Stephen Hawking was 76 years old.