Vatican media announced the death at 76, in Cambridge on March 14, 2018, of British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.
Author of the scientific theory that the creation of the universe “doesn’t require the intervention of a supernatural being or a god,” Hawking was elected member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on January 9, 1986.
He was decorated by the Academy with the Pius XI medal for his studies on “black holes” on April 19, 1975.
The famous scientist met Pope Francis on November 28, 2016, during the Academy’s Plenary Session.
Hawking also met three other Popes: Paul VI, on April 9, 1975, John Paul II on October 3, 1981, and Benedict XVI on October 31, 2008.
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up,” said the chair-ridden theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who struggled for decades with motor neuron disease, which was diagnosed at the age of 21, reported Vatican News.