Stephen Hawking would've turned 80 on January 8th, 2022 had he still been alive. While he's no longer with us, his contribution to our understanding of the universe remains immense and shouldn't be forgotten. To pay tribute to the celebrated physicist and cosmologist on what would've been his 80th birthday, Google worked with his family to create a video Doodle that gives us a condensed version of his life. Moreover, the tech giant used Hawking's famous computer-generated voice to narrate his work and experiences from the time he graduated.
Hawking was born in 1942 in Oxford, England and has always been fascinated with the universe. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease, when he was 21. In the years after that, he lost his mobility and his ability to speak, but he was able to communicate through a computer using a voice created in the 1980s by MIT engineer Dennis Klatt. In the Doodle, you'll hear Hawking's voice talk about his work on black holes — one of the scientific works he's most known for is the Hawking radiation, which is the theory that black holes emit radiation.
You'll also hear his voice say how he's free in his mind even though he cannot move. "I have spent my life traveling across the universe inside my mind," his voice narrates.
In a statement, his daughter Lucy and sons, Robert and Tim Hawking, said:
"We also believe he would have found it important to show that he never allowed the challenges of his physical condition to limit his power of expression nor his determination to make an impact on the world in which he lived. We hope that his example offers inspiration and hope globally to all who face great challenges at this difficult time. Our father would have been 80 years old today and we thank everyone who has joined in the celebration of his extraordinary life and the legacy he gave to us all."
You can watch the whole Doodle below.