Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad Gobierno de Canarias Universidad de La Laguna CSIC Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa

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IN MEMORIAM: STEPHEN HAWKING

Mar. 14, 2018

The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) deeply regrets the death of the eminent theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Honorary Professor of this research centre.

“During his visits to the IAC I remember how interested he was when asking if we could try to confirm his theories about radiation from black holes using the new generation of Cherenkov telescopes. He also wanted to know about the experiments we are developing to show whether there were gravitational waves produced during the first moments after the Big Bang, the QUIJOTE project, he was curious about the most recent advances in the search for other planets like our own, and also whether there had been changes in the behaviour of solar activity. Stephen was an extraordinary example of how to overcome the adversities of life for which we will always remember him”. With these words the director of the IAC, Prof. Rafael Rebolo, expressed his memories, this morning, of Stephen Hawking, a brilliant physicist, an excellent popularizer, and above all “ a fighter for life from whom we learned much both in science and in humanity”.

Hawking was in the Canaries twice to celebrate the multidisciplinary Starmus festival, in 2014 and 2016. The latter was organized as a tribute to him. He gave two magnificent popular talks in Tenerife, one about cosmology “The quantum creation of the universo, (The Universe as a Hologram), and the other about Black Holes.

On June 20th 2016 the IAC awarded him the title of “Honorary Professor of the IAC” for his contributions to cosmology, the physics of black holes, and scientific outreach. In La Palma Hawking inaugurated the Promenade of the Stars and of Science.

During his visit to IAC Headquarters after a massive reception by the personnel of the centre, Hawking took a tour of the installations, accompanied by the director of the Institute and other researchers. The aim of this visit was for him to get to know the research carried out at the IAC and its observatories. The well-know physicist signed with a fingerprint the Book of Honour of the IAC, and greeted the young doctoral students. Finally Professor Rebolo presented him with the commemorative plaque with the title “Honorary Professor of the IAC” in an act of tribute.-

Stephen Hawking, born in Oxford in 1942 was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in the University of Cambridge from 1979 until his retirement in 2009. From the age of around 20 he suffered from lateral amiotrophic sclerosis, which did not prevent him from becomeing one of the most brillian sicentists of our time, often compared with Albert Einstein.

The main scientific contributions of Stephen Hawking are related to the properties of black holes, he postulated radiation which should be emitted from those objects, and which bears his name. He has also contributed to the theory of the origin of the universe. With Roger Penrose he formulated theorems about space-time singularities in the framework of General Relativity.

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