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article imageStephen Hawking reaches 70

By Amanda Payne     Jan 8, 2012 in Science
Cambridge - The famous British scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking has reached his 70th birthday on Jan 8 despite being diagnosed with motor neurone disease aged 21.
Unfortunately, the professor was unable to attend a symposium organised to celebrate his birthday as he has been unwell. According to a report by the BBC, he was discharged from hospital on Friday Jan 6. He is due to watch the symposium via web-cast.
Stephen Hawking had recorded a message for the symposium , held at Cambridge University, which was received warmly by a packed auditorium. In his message entitled 'A Brief History of Mine', a play on the name of his famous book 'A Brief History of Time', the professor said that the human race would not survive another thousand years unless serious efforts are made to colonise other planets. He said that future space exploration was essential "for the future of humanity". The final words of his speech, which he had recorded using a specially made optical device that is able to interpret twitches of his cheek muscles to pick out words which are then sent to the voice synthesiser that he uses, were as follows:
Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist
Professor Hawking is an amazing man on a number of levels. First he has managed to survive the illness, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, which usually kills victims within a few years of diagnosis. The disease gradually affects the nerves of the body killing the victim by inches. According to the BBC , the disease kills five people every day and more than half die within 14 months of diagnosis.
However, despite living with the crippling illness, Professor Hawking has managed to achieve more than most people could dream of, with 12 honorary degrees, a CBE and a U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is the Lucasian professor of mathematics and theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge.
The professor has his own official website which gives details of his struggle with illness, copies of his lectures and information about the books he has written, the latest being 'The Grand Design'.
More about Stephen Hawking, a brief history of time, Cambridge Univeristy, Lou gehrig disease
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