The world today paid tribute to physicist Stephen Hawking, who died today at the age of 76. The famed British theoretical physicist passed away peacefully at his home in Cambridge this morning after a long battle with motor neurone disease, his family has revealed. And the celebrity and scientific world, including NASA, Katy Perry, and Piers Morgan, took to Twitter to pay their respects to the father of three. His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring. The world just dropped a lot of IQ points.
Stephen William Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018) was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. His scientific works included a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He was a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Hawking was an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. In 2002, Hawking was ranked number 25 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009 and achieved commercial success with works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general. His book, A Brief History of Time, appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks. Hawking had a rare early-onset slow-progressing form of motor neurone disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Lou Gehrig's disease), that gradually paralysed him over the decades. Even after the loss of his speech, he was still able to communicate through a speech-generating device, initially through use of a hand-held switch, and eventually by using a single cheek muscle. Hawking was born on 8 January 1942 in Oxford to Frank (1905–1986) and Isobel Hawking (née Walker; 1915–2013). Despite their families' financial constraints, both parents attended the University of Oxford, where Frank read medicine and Isobel read Philosophy, Politics and Economics. The two met shortly after the beginning of the Second World War at a medical research institute where Isobel was working as a secretary and Frank was working as a medical researcher. They lived in Highgate; but, as London was being bombed in those years, Isobel went to Oxford to give birth in greater safety. Hawking had two younger sisters, Philippa and Mary, and an adopted brother, Edward. In 1950, when Hawking's father became head of the division of parasitology at the National Institute for Medical Research, Hawking and his family moved to St Albans, Hertfordshire.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, her sons, Princes William and Harry, have joined in a documentary remembrance, "Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy." Premiering Monday on HBO, it's a big love note from family, friends and others who came close within the circle of her radiance. It makes no attempt to be a complete portrait, but rather concentrates on her goodness and good works, as a person and a public figure. There is sadness in it, but no scandal. I am good with this version.
Conspiracy theories used to be seen as bizarre expressions of harmless eccentrics. Gone are the days of outlandish theories about Roswell's UFOs, the "hoax" moon landings or grassy knolls. Instead, today's iterations have morphed into political weapons. Turbocharged by social media, they spread with astonishing speed, using death threats as currency. Together with their first cousins, fake news, they are challenging society's trust in facts. At its most toxic, this contagion poses a profound threat to democracy by damaging its bedrock: a shared commitment to truth. Their growing reach and scale is astonishing. A University of Chicago study estimated in 2014 that half of the American public consistently endorses at least one conspiracy theory. When they repeated the survey last November, the proportion had risen to 61%. The startling finding was echoed by a recent study from the University of Cambridge that found 60% of Britons are wedded to a false narrative.
The end of HIV "is in sight" in Western countries, but increased testing is vital, Sir Elton John has said. The music star said early testing could save "millions of pounds each year" for the NHS, in an interview with the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme. His charity, the Elton John Aids Foundation, has offered to finance HIV testing in Lambeth, south London. PM Theresa May said on Thursday that the UK was "driving advances in the treatment and prevention of HIV". About 40% of people diagnosed with HIV in 2014 were diagnosed late, according to Public Health England (PHE) statistics, which Mrs May described as having "a significant impact on their long-term prognosis".