A brief history of Stephen Hawking's wit on the legend's 77th birth anniversary

Hawking once threw a party time-travellers from the future, disappointed that no one showed.

A legendary physicist who had the rare ability to break down his complex and layered theories on the workings of the universe for lay readers, Stephen Hawking left the world on 14 March, 2018 a household name.

Over the course of his career, Hawking became an undeniable force in the field of theoretical physics. With his unparalleled contributions to a lot of what we know today about the universe's structure — be it the Big Bang, black holes or worm holes — Hawking revolutionized the field.

He wrote books — all of which were best-sellers — found their way into hands of millions that didn't know the first thing about relativity, closed loops or mass-energy curves. The beauty of Hawking's popular books were just that: they were immersive, funny and incredibly easy to read considering the content and author.

A brief history of Stephen Hawkings wit on the legends 77th birth anniversary

Stephen Hawking. Image courtesy: Cambridge University/Andre Pattenden

People were keen to know what he had to say, and his sense of humour made it all-the-more enjoyable for his enormous fanbase.

Hawking in a Newsweek special had once said, "I like simple experiments...and champagne. So, I’ve combined two of my favorite things to see if time travel from the future to the past is possible."

“I gave a party for time-travelers, but I didn't send out the invitations until after the party. I sat there a long time, but no one came,” Hawking told Ars Technica in 2012. "I have experimental evidence that time travel is not possible.”

Theoretically, time travellers that were from the future would have been able to see invitation, which specified the exact location and time. They would have travelled back in time to attend the party.

“What a shame,” he joked in his documentary, Into the Universe. “I was hoping a future Miss Universe was going to step through the door.”

The epitome of his professional career has been his groundbreaking contributions to theories on black holes. Among his books, the most resonant with the world was the multi-million seller, A Brief History of Time, which flew off shelves in 35 languages and stayed on London Sunday Times' bestseller list for over five years since its release in 1998.

Hawking was born in England on 8 January 1942 — 300 years to the exact day after astronomer Galileo Galilei died.

His alma mater was University College, Oxford, where he studied physics and applied mathematics, heading on to Cambridge to study cosmology and the universe as a whole.

Stephen Hawking at Cambridge. Image courtesy: University of Portsmouth

Stephen Hawking at Cambridge. Image courtesy: University of Portsmouth

In 1963, inching towards his 21st birthday, Hawking was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease, known as Lou Gehrig's disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The doctors had given him 2 years to live after he was diagnosed, and he managed 54.

Hawking slowly became less mobile over time and was forced to eventually use a wheelchair. In 1985, he lost his speech, which he addressed using a voice synthesizer built at Cambridge. This would serve as Hawking's iconic, electronic voice, giving him control over his words by the movement of his cheek muscles.

Stephen Hawking. AFP

Stephen Hawking. AFP

In a statement by his children Lucy, Robert and Tim announcing his passing, they said, “(Hawking) once said: ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him for ever.”

It seems the world shares in their sentiment.

Happy 77th birthday, Stephen Hawking.

You're eternal.

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