Famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who passed away early Wednesday at the age of 76, was a unique public figure, one who straddled the line between scientific authority and celebrity with deft, savvy care. He was the closest the world had to a science ambassador.
I’m not a theoretical physicist, nor do I have a degree in the hard sciences. But that didn’t stop me from admiring Hawking for most of my life. His books, lectures, and unpredictable media appearances all made me pay special attention to how he saw the world.