In Depth

Stephen Hawking: Twitter reacts to death of ‘beautiful mind’

Scientists, politicians and celebrities pay tribute to man whose theories ‘unlocked the universe’

Scores of people from the worlds of science, politics and entertainment have tweeted tributes to Stephen Hawking, the pioneering British physicist and author who has died at the age of 76.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson shared a photo of himself and Hawking, and wrote: “His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake.” 

Nasa shared a video of Hawking’s address to astronauts on the International Space Station in 2014. “His theories unlocked the universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring,” said the space agency.

“May you keep flying like superman in microgravity.”

British astronaut Tim Peake, who spent more than six months in space in 2016, said Hawking had inspired generations to “look beyond our own blue planet and expand our understanding of the universe”.

Accolades and recollections of fond memories poured in from across the political spectrum, too.

Many, including Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell, recalled the physicist’s wicked sense of humour.

Some remembered Hawking’s more offbeat achievements, such as lending his voice to several episodes of The Simpsons.

The scentist was such a fan of the show that he made four separate appearances, and called it “the best thing on American television”.

He also knew it brought him to a new audience, saying: “Almost as many people know me from The Simpsons as through my science.”

Many commentators also celebrated The Theory of Everything, the film based on Hawking’s early life, with Eddie Redmayne in the lead role.

As CNet notes, many fans first heard one of Hawking’s most “inspiring” quotes in the film: “There should be no boundaries to human endeavour. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”

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