Stephen Hawking's New 3-part TV Series Now Free to View Online

Stephen Hawking

Nobel laureate Art McDonald poses with the late Stephen Hawking at SNOLAB in 2012.

But while Hawking, the theoretical physicist who died Wednesday at age 76, was certainly overshadowed in the atheist department by his countryman, the evolutionary biologist and atheist activist Richard Dawkins, Hawking's atheism was more of a slow simmer than Dawkins' explosive ire.

Say the words "British", "scientist" and "atheist" and the first person to come to mind probably isn't Stephen Hawking. Considered as the world's greatest scientist, Hawking believed that there is a grand design to the universe, but it has nothing to do with God. After the loss of his speech, he was still able to communicate through a speech-generating device.

Hawking's title "is not relevant here; what matters is what his brain did", said Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York's Hayden Planetarium.

"At that point, he was just as interested", he said. The Guardian said Britain was "braced for retaliation", while the Daily Mirror called it "Cold War II".

Due to his medical fragility, the lift carrying Hawking down to SNOLAB was operated at half speed for the first half of the journey.

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Spaceguard centre owner Jay Tate admitted he was surprised, but delighted, when Professor Hawking went on the tour and was then happy to pose for photographs afterwards.

"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today", Hawking's children, Lucy, Robert, and Tim said in a statement.

"And by that I mean that I think there are physicists in a thousand years' time, they will still be talking about Hawking radiation, they will be using his fundamental results on black holes". Black holes, it was thought, were bottomless pits from which matter and energy could never escape.

"Our relationship with Stephen was really a partnership", McDonald said. Based on this clip, we can tell Stephen Hawking could've been a stone cold poker pro! In fact, it was Hawking's 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, which Jani happened to pick up in 2006 from a street vendor outside his college, the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, that introduced him to a world of big ideas that nobody in his small town was talking about.

He appeared - speaking with that characteristic mechanical voice - as himself, sometimes in cartoon form, on shows from Star Trek: The Next Generation, to The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory.

Born on January 8, 1942 - 300 years to the day after the death of the father of modern science, Galileo Galilei - Stephen William Hawking became one of the world's most well-regarded scientists and entered the pantheon of science titans.

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