Stephen Hawking Reaches 70th Birthday Despite Odds
Stephen Hawking turned 70 years old Sunday, defying doctors who gave him just years to live after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease at age 21. According to MSNBC, the British astrophysicist was honored for his contribution to science at his birthday celebration at Cambridge University, though he himself was too ill to attend.
“It’s wonderful that we are celebrating Stephen’s 70th birthday,” said astronomer and Cambridge head Royal Martin Rees. “It’s a chance to thank him for the many insights he’s given us about the universe, and…for the inspiration he’s offered to millions by achieving so much against all the odds.”
Hawking has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neuron disease that attacks the nerves that control muscles and eventually stops them from functioning. Though he has lived with the disease almost half a century after first being diagnosed, Hawking is now confined to a wheelchair and uses a computerized voice synthesizer to speak.
MSNBC reported that Hawking wasn’t given much chance to live beyond the next two years when he was diagnosed as a 21-year-old PhD student. Since then, the well-known scientist has gained fame for his work with theories on time, space, relativity and black holes. Rees referred to him as a “modern-day Einstein” for his advances on the study of time and the ultimate fate of the universe.