Physicist Stephen Hawking sits on stage during an announcement of the Breakthrough Starshot initiative with investor Yuri Milner in New York April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
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Stephen Hawking, who sought to explain the origins of the universe, the mysteries of black holes and the nature of time itself, died Wednesday aged 76 .As one of Isaac Newton's successors as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, Hawking was involved in the search for the great goal of physics – a "unified theory".Such a theory would resolve the contradictions between Einstein's theory of relativity, which describes the laws of gravity that govern the motion of large objects like planets, and the quantum mechanics theory, which deals with the world of subatomic particles. Richard Green, of the Motor Neurone Disease Association – the British name for ALS – said Hawking met the classic definition of the disease, as "the perfect mind trapped in an imperfect body".He said Hawking had been an inspiration to people with the disease for many years. Since 1974, Hawking worked extensively on marrying the two cornerstones of modern physics – Einstein's general theory of relativity and quantum theory.As a result of that research, Hawking proposed a model of the universe based on two concepts of time: "real time," or time as human beings experience it, and quantum theory's "imaginary time," on which the world may really run.
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