Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) Tribute List

Dr. Stephen Hawking, the most famous physicist on earth, died on March 14, 2018 at the age of 76. Hawking was famous for his book A Brief History of Time and his work on black holes, but he was perhaps most noted in the popular imagination for the effects of the Lou Gehrig’s disease ( ALS) he developed in his twenties, which confined him to a wheelchair and robbed him of his voice. The computerized voice he used as a substitute made him an instantly recognizable pop culture presence when he appeared on shows like The Simpsons. Dr. Hawking was always defying the odds, both in his scientific predictions, and just by existing- he was given three years to live when he was diagnosed but he managed to live more than four decades with his illness. Quite simply, Stephen Hawking had one of the greatest scientific minds the world has ever seen, and he was also an inspiration. Here are twelve vocabulary words drawn from quotes from Dr. Hawking.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. spectrum
    a broad range of related objects, values, or qualities
    The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.
  2. exponentially
    in a manner of rapid growth
    Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill.
  3. vital
    urgently needed; absolutely necessary
    Keeping an active mind has been vital to my survival, as has been maintaining a sense of humor.
  4. rational
    consistent with or based on or using reason
    To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.
  5. expectation
    belief about the future
    When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.
  6. bewilder
    be a mystery to
    We live in a bewildering world.
  7. sociable
    inclined to or conducive to companionship with others
    It's time to commit to finding the answer, to search for life beyond Earth. Mankind has a deep need to explore, to learn, to know. We also happen to be sociable creatures. It is important for us to know if we are alone in the dark.
  8. heresy
    any opinions at variance with the official position
    Time travel was once considered scientific heresy, and I used to avoid talking about it for fear of being labelled a 'crank.'
  9. arbitrary
    based on or subject to individual discretion or preference
    The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired.
  10. dynamic
    expressing action rather than a state of being
    Before 1915, space and time were thought of as a fixed arena in which events took place, but which was not affected by what happened in it. Space and time are now dynamic quantities... space and time not only affect but are also affected by everything that happens in the universe.
  11. intuitive
    obtained through instinctive knowledge
    I don't care much for equations myself. This is partly because it is difficult for me to write them down, but mainly because I don't have an intuitive feeling for equations.
  12. feasible
    capable of being done with means at hand
    I have wanted to fly into space for many years, but never imagined it would really be feasible.

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