I woke up to the news this morning that Prof. Hawking had died. It’s hard to express the deep admiration people had for his work and the way he surmounted challenges in a way that few others have managed.
There will be plenty of articles written about his scientific legacy. But I found this quote at the end of an article by Robert Barr to be the most evocative:
Lucy Hawking said her father had an exasperating “inability to accept that there is anything he cannot do.”
“I accept that there are some things I can’t do,” he told The Associated Press in 1997. “But they are mostly things I don’t particularly want to do anyway.”
Then, grinning widely, he added, “I seem to manage to do anything that I really want.”
I think the most impressive quality he possessed was the way he was willing to revisit his thinking and change his mind when the facts or the logic demanded he do so.
People need heroes. We are a better people because he worked and lived a hero’s life.