Stephen Hawking, science’s brightest star
Stephen Hawking was a great man of science. His scientific interests ranged from cosmology to physics, from mathematics to artificial intelligence. In recent times he even took an interest in space exploration with the Breakthrough Starshot project to send miniature unmanned space probes, equipped with lightsails to exploit a “light beam” that will propel them through space at a speed equivalent to a quarter of the speed of light, aiming to reach Proxima B, the exoplanet closest to earth.
Hawking was one of the foremost researchers into black holes, and put forward the theory of evaporation: a black hole really is not a bottomless well that swallows up matter and energy for ever; a certain number of particles succeed in escaping and go to form the radiation named after this great British scientist (for further information, click here).
Hawking’s merits are not only academic. “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes” was his first and highly successful popular-science book, explaining a marvellous and fascinating science to the non-specialist readers.