Legendary Prof Hawking, who captivated our island

THE most famous scientist on the planet, Professor Stephen Hawking, who died aged 76 on Wednesday, featured in two Starmus festivals in Tenerife, in 2014 and two years later.

He loved the scientific festival and the island, as well as its  weather, so much so that, after sailing over from Southampton in September 2015 to promote the following year’s event, he said he had an urge to buy a holiday home here.

The renowned scientist, revered as the greatest since Albert Einstein, could solve astrophysical conundrums beyond most people’s comprehension.

Tragically, he had suffered from Motor Neurone disease since he was 21, yet he was feted wherever he went on the island.

Alas, Starmus organisers pulled the plug on Tenerife, after a lack of funding by the Canarian Government and big businesses for the 2016 show. But the next Starmus Festival, also featuring the Professor, was launched in Norway in 2017.

Starmus was a unique, international gathering, focused on celebrating astronomy, space exploration and rock music (courtesy of Queen’s Brian May), along with art and allied sciences, such as biology and chemistry.

It was founded by Garik Israelian, an astronomer at the Canarian Institute for Astrophysics in Tenerife.

The 2016 edition, dedicated to Prof Hawking under the title, Beyond The Horizon: A Tribute To Stephen Hawking, gathered together around a dozen Nobel laureates. It also attracted many other famous figures from the worlds of art and science, astronomy and space exploration.

Hawking, whose remarkable life was portrayed in the Oscar-winning film The Theory of Everything, was able to write using a sensor in his cheek, one of the few muscles he was still able to move. He also employed several software programs to help him communicate, but, sometimes, it still took him up to two hours to answer a simple question.

But he was renowned for his humour, and he had a special button that cracked jokes!

Prime Minister Theresa May led the praise for him, saying: “He was one of the greatest scientists of his generation. His courage, humour and determination inspired people across the world.”

His three children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away.

“He was an extraordinary man, whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence, with his brilliance and humour, inspired people across the world.

“He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it weren’t home to the people you love’. We will miss him forever.”

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Posted by on Mar 16 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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