UC DAVIS (CBS13) — The passing of well-respected physicist Stephen Hawking is being felt on the UC Davis campus.
Hawking is best known for his work on the origins of the universe.
He lectured at UC Davis for a week-long lecture about cosmic inflation in 2003. Both his lectures were sold out.
"He was up there with the best; he was stubborn, he could argue," said UC Davis Professor Andreas Albrecht.
Stephen Hawking was a legendary scientist who inspired the world and Albrecht's career. The two attended major science conferences together, where Hawking would share his groundbreaking discoveries with the world.
"We could have waited decades after my lifetime to see these discoveries," Albrecht said.
Hawking led studies exploring gravity and black holes and the origin of the universe, shaping how scientists study physics today.
"He's a real fighter, and that absolutely translated to the science world," Albrecht added.
Hawking was diagnosed with ALS as a young adult. The disease confined him to a wheelchair but didn't stop him from breaking boundaries in science.
Albrecht says, although speaking was a challenge for Hawking, he somehow found a way to mesmerize an entire crowd.
"He conveyed the thrill, and he conveyed the sense of adventure," he said.
Hawking drew thousands into the Mondavi Center at UC Davis in 2003, as he lectured on cosmic inflation. Albrecht says Hawking's presence inspired aspiring scientists to continue his honorable work.
Hawking's passing is also a tremendous loss to the ALS community.
"He's a tremendous hero to our patients he survived and defied the odds," said Amy Sugimoto, executive director of the ALS Association in Sacramento.
Hawking's ability to contribute to modern science while facing a debilitating disease is an inspiration to other ALS patients as the rest of the world.
"He served as the beacon of hope," Sugimoto said.
Albrecht says Hawking's work will not be forgotten. The two were supposed to attend a conference in Albania in April.
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