Hawking 'an inspiration to everyone' at centre bearing his name
Stephen Hawking Centre in Waterloo Ont. is the only centre to bear the late physicist's name
Stephen Hawking's deep love for people, personal warmth and sense of humour are being remembered by those who knew and worked with him at Perimeter Institute, in Waterloo, Ont.
Hawking, 76, died early Wednesday morning in Cambridge, England.
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The theoretical physicist was well known for his lectures on cosmology and for his books, including A Brief History of Time and Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays.
"Stephen's passing is a very sad day for physics and for humankind. His spirit will live on in all of us who knew him, as we aspire, with all our hearts, to perpetuate the many wonderful human qualities he embodied," Turok said in a release Wednesday morning.
"Uncompromising in his scientific honesty and his search for the truth, always willing to listen and to explore new ideas. He combined this with extraordinary personal warmth, an acute sense of humour, a deep love for people and for sharing good times together," Turok added.
Time spent in Canada
Hawking was a distinguished visiting research chair at the Perimeter Institute. He started visiting the Waterloo centre in 2009.
At that time, Hawking said he was "honoured to accept the first distinguished research chair at the Perimeter Institute."
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"The institute's twin focus on quantum theory and gravity is very close to my heart and central to explaining the origin of the universe," Hawking said.
In 2011, Perimeter named a centre after Hawking — the only building in the world to which Hawking ever lent his name.
At the opening of the centre, Hawking said, "the importance of special places and special times, where magical progress can happen, cannot be overstated. I am hoping, and expecting, great things will happen here."
'An inspiration to everyone around him'
Others at Perimeter noted the world has lost an irreplaceable scientist and human being.
Luis Lehner, faculty chair at Perimeter Institute, said Hawking's influence in science "has been tremendous."
Raymond Laflamme, Perimeter associate faculty member and the former director of the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, did his PhD under Hawking at Cambridge. He called Hawking an "incredible scientist" who changed the way people think about the universe.
"Despite his disability, he had a great sense of humour and was able to do incredible things to inspire a lot of people," Laflamme said. "He was an inspiration for overcoming our challenges, to keep going, to always be kind to the people around us."