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‘I made some space for Stephen Hawking’

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Live Correspondent: As the world mourns the death of Stephen Hawking, where he livedA�A�in Cambridge and worked people remember a familiar face often spotted on the streets and in the university’s halls.

 

A bust in his likeness sits in Cambridge University’s Centre for Theoretical Cosmology and the Stephen Hawking Building was named after Gonville and Caius College’s most celebrated fellow. Outside the very site which housed his accommodation when he joined as a PhD student in 1962 is a simple sign announcing his death.

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Some of those now studying at the university were inspired to study science by the professor, including physics student Arno Liu.

 

The 17-year-old was one of those who queued to sign the book of condolence. “I quoted a Dylan Thomas poem, Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night. It’s written for people not to give up, but to fight on in life.”

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Although he had not met the professor, Mr Liu was among those who attended Prof Hawking’s 75th birthday celebrations at Gonville and Caius last year. “Everybody was trying to chat with him but seeing him was enough for me,” he adds.

Caius’ law student Amy Edwards-Knight, 21, was also there and remembers a “gorgeous piece of music” which had been composed to mark the occasion. “They had the choir perform and he gave a really lovely speech.

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“He talked about what Caius had done for him, and his connections to the college, and waxed lyrical about the abilities of really understanding the universe and how he didn’t think that he ultimately ever did, completely.”

Despite his failing health the professor still attended dinners in the college, and Caius’ bar worker Jesus Gorjon remembers being asked to make room for a certain guest on one occasion. “I was doing a dinner at the college and my boss told me to make some space for ‘Stephen’ and I said ‘OK’.

“I didn’t know who ‘Stephen’ was, but when I saw it was him, I was like, ‘oh, I’ve made some space for Stephen Hawking’.” The professor also surprised TV actor Stephen McGann, who ran into him at Antonio Carluccio’s restaurant in Cambridge.

Paying tributu on twitter, the Call the Midwife star said: “To anybody who lives in or near Cambridge, Stephen Hawking was a constant reminder of brilliance that wants to share the same air.

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“You would come across him in the street – in cafes or shops. I last saw him at the next table in Carluccio’s. I’ll miss that.” As people mourn the passing of the man whom many held in awe, those in his home city are fondly remembering a familiar man about town.

Several recall “coming across” the scientist in the street. “He ran over my foot years ago on King’s Parade,” one wrote on Twitter. Another replied: “I can top that – I nearly crashed into him on my bike.”

But Ms Ducharme sums it up for many when she says: “Professor Hawking showed such inspiration, such determination. “We’re all so lucky to have lived at the same time he did, and to live in Cambridge at the same time he did.”

 

Dhaka, 16March, (campuslive24.com) //MI


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