The Role ALS Played In Stephen Hawking’s Success

British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has received worldwide acclaim for his discoveries in the field, but still finds himself thinking, “Sometimes I wonder if I’m as famous for my wheelchair and disabilities as I am for my discoveries,” as he says in a recent PBS documentary.

“But it’s the discoveries that really catapulted Hawking into the pantheon of physics greatness, right?” Time and National Geographic contributing writer Michael Lemonick recently asked in a column. Lemonick joined HuffPost Live host Ricky Camilleri to discuss the roles both amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and brilliance have played in Hawking’s achievements throughout his career.

“The public has a general idea that he’s this incredibly smart guy who made discoveries,” said Lemonick. “If you ask about Einstein’s discoveries, they know e = mc2, they know relativity. You ask them about Hawking’s, they don’t have a clue. The truth is, among his fellow physicists, he’s respected for his discoveries but actually not a lot more than a lot of other high-level physicists. But the fact that he could make these discoveries given the limitations he’s been saddled with, that is kind of the amazing thing.”

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