Here's why Stephen Hawking never won Nobel Prize

Professor Stephen Hawking at Cambridge in 2013

A family spokesman said he died peacefully at his home in the city of Cambridge where he worked for decades as the Lucasian Professorship of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.

While his many contributions will live on there is no doubt that science and the wider world is the poorer for his passing.

- "The Grand Design": Hawking said this 2010 book co-written with American physicist Leonard Mlodinow was meant to address important unanswered questions such as why there is a universe and whether the universe needed a creator and designer. His first publication "A Brief History of Time" was a great success and sold over 10 million copies.

Professor Stephen Hawking speaks during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics at the Olympic Stadium on August 29, 2012 in London, England.

Over the years, Hawking became one of the most recognized names in contemporary science. It was awesome how widely read and discussed it was, particularly given its content (stuff that is usually portrayed as being really hard and/or boring). This is the true strength of his legacy. Much has already been written (I again direct you to The Guardian's obituary) that does a far better job of explaining Hawking's life and career.

In 2004, he announced that he had revised his previous view that objects sucked into black holes simply disappeared, perhaps to enter an alternate universe.

His ability to remain engaged with the scientific community despite his physical condition was a testament to his rare talent. In it, he discusses the origins of the universe and its future.

Building on the work of scientists such as Einstein he defined and refined our understanding of the Big Bang, gravity black holes, entropy, general relativity and quantum theory.

Other than his work in theoretical physics, Hawking has been a source of some great quotes.

It was even rumoured that one of the politically outspoken scientist's great regrets was that he never got a chance to run over the toes of Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

"We are running out of space and the only places to go to are other worlds".

Hawking also warned Britain ahead of the Brexit referendum in 2016 against leaving the European Union: "Gone are the days when we could stand on our own against the world".

Hawking's bestselling A Brief History of Time made cosmology accessible to people and brought black holes out of the shadows and into the public imagination.

Remarkably, Hawking defied predictions he would only live for a few years, overcoming its debilitating effects on his mobility and speech that left him paralysed and able to communicate only via a computer speech synthesiser.

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