I can still vividly remember my late teenage years when my deep rooted fascination towards nature and the universe suddenly convinced me to seriously understand about the mechanisms behind natural and universal events. I have always been attracted by the marvel, the passion, the elevated. Those days the thinkers who most excited my imagination were Dawkins in biology and Hawking and Sagan in physics. I was equally enamored at the idea of selfish gene and worm hole. It has been and will always be a regret of my life not to continue my search towards grander and finer truths in either biology or physics. However, I could glimpse from my limited understanding in both of these fields about the probable elation and fulfillment of those who have continued.
The legacy of Hawking is twofold. The first is obviously his deeply imaginative contribution in physics. The second but equally important one is to make us see and realize how beautiful and fantastic the pursuit of physics is. It could not be done without possessing a deeply imaginative mind like his. In any field, be it within science or arts, you can find about new exciting truths only when you free your imagination completely and reign it in only while transforming the idea into a communicable medium. Hawking was one of the greatest imaginative minds of our time and the stuffs he imagined took us to a world of reality which resembled the greatest fantasy a human mind can ever think of. Thus he became a messenger of physics by exciting our senses of imagination. Physics, in stead of being a drab monotony, was transformed into a world of fantasy for lay people. Equally notably, a horde of bright students got interested and pursued a loving career in physics.
This day can be seen as the end of an era of scientific triumph over the whole humanity. Over the past hundreds of years, a new kind of light previously unseen by humans slowly emerged and gradually took hold of our collective human consciousness. Science is that light and Hawking has been one of the greatest of that long list of illuminators.
On this sad day for humanity, let’s pause for a moment and deeply revere this great man. Let’s also revere the long painstaking tradition of the physicists along the centuries. Only by truly realizing the essence and significance of the pursuit of physics can we aptly show our best regards to this man of genius in the wheel chair.
Adios, dear friend.