RIP Stephen Hawking.
I was a struggling PhD student the first time I saw you, like really saw you. It changed my life more than the seminar on ghosts I saw you give at UCSB. It was Strings 2002 in Cambridge, and I saw your nurse feed you a cup of tea. It reminded me that it’s not a sin to be dependent, despite that I had always wanted my independence. It made me realize that we all need help and others to help us in different capacities.
I still struggle with dependence a lot, but when I think of you, I think of the epiphany I had. To do the things I can and realize my dreams despite impediments and accept the dependence I have on others too, that maybe it’s okay.
And I remember how I watched you featured on the PBS show The Astronomers at home while my classmates were at the prom in high school. Never did I dare dream I’d be in your presence so much back then and see you give a seminar.
And I remember as your health declined in my last years in California when you came to CalTech. So many of us think perhaps that things will be okay when we reach such and such an age and hope our issues improve rather than decline. But you staunchly gave technical talks and did not give up despite the deterioration of your health. You were a personal inspiration and gave much to me in my youth and lessons I need to remember now.
And now I study Quantum Information Theory, something I never imagined I’d be involved in. Thank you. You will radiate forever out of blackness.