Stephen Hawking, the iconic scientist was too unwell to deliver a speech at his own 70th birthday, with special guests such as Richard Branson missing the opportunity to meet the man face to face. Guests at the event were greeted instead with a recording of his lecture.
The Telegraph in the UK said that an assistant handled the event, playing the recording and showing photographs from Hawking’s early life.
The Telegraph said “The lecture was frequently punctuated with laughter as the professor lived up to his reputation for dry humour and witty one-liners.
In a moving address, Prof Hawking described how his diagnosis with motor neurone disease at 21 had helped transform him from a gifted but lazy student into one of the world’s most eminent academics.
Doctors initially gave him just a few years to live, but almost 50 years on his most famous book, A Brief History of Time, has sold more than 10m copies and his fame has been cemented with guest appearances on The Simpsons and Star Trek.”
When he was first diagnosed he became depressed, and he felt no desire to work on his PhD because he wasn’t sure if he would live long enough to finish it. His health began to improve slightly and then he got engaged to Jane and she gave him the desire to finish his PhD and work hard.
Richard Branson said “Stephen Hawking was good enough to invite me here, he is somebody the world admires enormously and it is wonderful to be celebrating his 70th birthday, which in itself is remarkable.
He should have won the Nobel Prize many times, he is somebody who has discovered many things in his lifetime and he has managed to do that through extreme disability.”
Kitguru says: Hawking seems a modest man and has said he is happy to have made a ‘small contribution’ to our understanding of the universe.