The Google Doodle for Saturday honors the late Stephen Hawking, possibly the most famous scientist of his time, who attempted to explain the universe to millions of people.
The work of the renowned British theoretical physicist and cosmologist aimed to improve our understanding of black holes, which are dead stars that have collapsed in on themselves, generating a core of such density and gravitational attraction that nothing, not even light, can escape.
Saturday would have been Hawking’s 80th birthday (he died in 2018), and Google has created a video Doodle in his honor, which prominently shows a black hole in the middle of the artwork. In addition, a computer-generated voice, similar to Hawking’s, recalls his illustrious life in the 2-minute pixilated movie, which includes comments on life and the universe that represent his everlasting optimism.
The film shows how he continued to work on his study despite being paralyzed by Lou Gehrig’s disease, a type of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis that he was diagnosed with at the age of 21. As a result, he surprised many by living for more than 50 years, far longer than the two years projected by doctors.
His family, who approved of the video’s computer-generated narration, informed Google that he would have loved to have his life narrative recounted in a short but imaginative video.
“He would have felt it was crucial to demonstrate that the constraints of his physical condition never limited his ability to express himself or his ambition to make an effect on the world,” his family stated. “We hope that his example serves as an inspiration and source of hope for everyone who is facing significant hardships at this time.”
His theoretical prediction that black holes generate radiation that eventually evaporates, known as Hawking radiation, was one of his most outstanding achievements. He initially assumed that his 1970 discovery was the product of a computation error. However, he was eventually convinced that his formula was correct.
Hawking was also a prolific author who wrote to explain the origins and expansion of the cosmos to non-scientific people. His book A Brief History of Time, published in 1988, was a huge success, selling over 10 million copies and being translated into 35 languages. Hawking followed up with publications like The Universe in a Nutshell and A Briefer History of Time.
Doodler Matthew Cruickshank created the Doodle, saying that the advancement of computer graphics over Hawking’s lifetime impacted his artistic approach.