Who was your hero growing up? Mine was Stephen Hawking.

Stephen Hawking

What is a hero? A lot is said in the media about “Heroes”. Often the sportsperson of the hour is described as a hero. I don’t like this definition and I think there is far more to being a hero than that. One definition I saw describes a hero as A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

Why Hawking? As a kid I thought I was pretty smart (Not really just above average), I liked Star Trek and science so Hawking was a pretty obvious choice. I remember reading all about Hawking and his life fascinated me. A brilliant man was struck down by motor neurone disease in his early twenties, however this did not stop him and he completed his doctorate and became the famous physicist we all know and love.

My physics career was fairly short lived ending with an undergraduate course at University of York, however I really enjoyed learning the concepts that he described about space and time and was definitely a driving factor for me to learn as much as I did about Physics.

How heroic is it to be given 2 years to live and then not only survive but to expand our understanding of the universe without being able to speak or move without the aid of technology?

I can not imagine what it must be like to not be able to communicate without the use of a computer, but this has been Stephen Hawkings world for over 30 years. His computer system has undergone various upgrades over the years however his synthetic computer voice has continued as he identified with it and prefered it.

Stephen Hawking had an immense intellect, I would probably describe him as one of the cleverest people on the planet.

Who are your heroes? What kind of person is your hero, is it a scientist or engineer? The world contains some very clever people who will inspire and excite young people to strive towards something. I am hopeful that my sons can be inspired even if it’s only a small way by someone like Stephen Hawking.

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