Stephen Hawking had a ‘sense of humour as vast as the universe’: unique tributes flood in for physics pioneer


Celebrities, public figures, and scientists from around the world have begun sending tributes to physicist Stephen Hawking, who died at the age of 76 early Wednesday morning.

American astrophysicist and Twitter celebrity Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted a photo of himself and Hawking, saying that his passing has “left an intellectual vacuum in his wake.”

Al Jean, the writer and producer of “The Simpsons,” said Hawking had a “sense of humour as vast as the universe.”

Hawking was known for his biting sense of humour, and had said that it “is what keeps me going.

In 1999, the esteemed physicist appeared on an episode of “The Simpsons,” and appeared on the show three more times in following years.

The role helped earn Hawking a place as a pop-culture icon – he joked he was often mistaken for a character on “The Simpsons” – and he praised the series as “the best thing on American television.”

Actor and Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin said the late physicist was “both a genius and my favourite Simpsons character.”

Astronomer and popular science blogger Phil Plait highlighted Hawking’s scientific breakthroughs in a series of tweets.

Plait described how Hawking discovered how “the most powerful objects in the Universe” black holes “eventually dissolve,” and how Hawking lived for another 55 years despite his ALS diagnosis.

“He was the definition of mind over matter,” Plait said.

Mayim Bialik, who is both a neuroscientist and star of the TV series “The Big Bang Theory,” tweeted that in his passing, Hawking was “free from the physical constraints of this earthly condition we all exist in” and was now “soaring” above the world.

Theoretical Physicist and professor Matthew Buckley said Hawking’s genius extended far beyond his fame.

“Hawking was a great scientist. The world might not have known him had he never suffered from his illness, but they should have,” Buckley tweeted, before highlighting Hawking’s incredible work on black holes.

NASA tweeted a tribute video to Hawking, whose theories “unlocked a universe of possibilities” that the world continues to discover.

India’s Prime Minister Narenda Modhi said Hawking’s “grit and tenacity” inspired generations of people throughout the world.

Former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power underlined Hawking’s kind heart in addition to his brilliant mind.

Hawking, who had been suffering from ALS for many years, died “peacefully in his home” on Monday, according to a family statement.

Hawking made several discoveries that transformed the way scientists viewed black holes and the universe.

He is survived by his three children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim.