Stephen Hawking, who has died aged 76, was one of the most brilliant scientists of his age and exemplified the ability to rise above severe physical disability.

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Coxing in 1961 in Oxford, where he was born

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Graduation day at Oxford in 1962. A year later Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease

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Hawking in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1979

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The wedding of Stephen and Elaine Hawking in 1995

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A guest appearance in The Simpsons episode ‘They Saved Lisa’s Brain’, which aired in 1999

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Stephen and Elaine Hawking at San Lorenzo beach in the northern Spanish city of Gijón in April 2005

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The British cosmologist experiences zero gravity during a flight over the Atlantic. ‘It was amazing . . . I could have gone on and on,’ he said

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Pope Benedict blesses Hawking during a meeting of science academics at the Vatican in 2008

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With Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, in Johannesburg in 2008

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Lucy Hawking and her father during the 50 Years of Nasa lecture series at George Washington University

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Awarded the Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House in 2009

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Eddie Redmayne, who played the physicist in the 2014 film ‘The Theory Of Everything’

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At the New Space Exploration Initiative’s ‘Breakthrough Starshot’ announcement at One World Observatory in New York in 2016

Letter in response to this article:

As a physician, I wonder whether Hawking had polio rather than ALS / From Christopher B Cooper, University of California, Los Angeles, US

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