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'Brief Answers To The Big Questions' Is Stephen Hawking's Parting Gift To Humanity

The physicist's posthumous book highlights his belief in the rationality of nature and on our ability to uncover its secrets — and a faith in science's ability to solve humanity's biggest problems.
Physicist Stephen Hawking on Oct. 10, 1979, in Princeton, New Jersey. Source: Santi Visalli

Stephen Hawking is one of those rare luminaries whose life symbolizes the best humanity has to offer.

His uncanny creativity as a theoretical physicist and his decades-long struggle with the horribly debilitating motor neuron disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease) inspired millions to revisit their bonds with science and with their own personal challenges.

Like Albert Einstein, he achieved superstardom while still alive, not something that happens to many scientists. The image of a brain traveling to the confines of space and time, diving deep into some of the biggest mysteries of science while imprisoned in a wheelchair excited the public imagination.

Condemned by doctors to live a short life while still a young Ph.D. student in Cambridge, England, Hawking's long survival seemed like a miracle, even if he would never use such

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