Stephen Hawking: Google pays tribute to the late scientist with an 80th birthday Doodle

The animation uses the renowned physicist's "voice" in a brief history of one of the world's most influential scientific minds

Google has paid tribute to theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking with a Google Doodle on what would have been his 80th birthday. Karwai Tang / Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

The late cosmologist, author, and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking is the subject of an animated Google Doodle on Saturday.

The doodle displays on what would have been the scientist’s 80th birthday, and uses Hawking’s own "voice", with the permission of his family.

The renowned scientist was born on January 8, 1942, and Google's doodle takes a creative look at what was his long life and career via a very brief two-and-a-half minute animation.

From colliding black holes to the Big Bang, Hawking's theories on the origins and mechanics of the universe revolutionised modern physics. His work as an author made the often off-limits field widely accessible to millions of readers worldwide.

“Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free,” says Hawking's computer-generated voice in the animation.

“My goal is simple, it is the complete understanding of the universe.”

Hawking died in 2018 at the age of 76. He was diagnosed with motor neuron disease at age 21.

His daughter Lucy and sons Robert and Tim Hawking granted their approval for Google to use their father's voice for the animation and said they were “delighted that Google has chosen to celebrate our father's 80th birthday with this fabulous Doodle”.

“We also believe he would have found it important to show that he never allowed the challenges of his physical condition to limit his power of expression nor his determination to make an impact on the world in which he lived. We hope that his example offers inspiration and hope globally to all who face great challenges at this difficult time”

Doodler Matthew Cruickshank, who created Saturday's Google Doodle, was visually inspired by the evolution of computer graphics during Hawking’s lifetime. He also used the scientist's rich history of comments and quotations about life in the making of the clip.

“I thought Stephen's extraordinary quotes on life and the universe would make a wonderful short animated film. Not only is animation visual, its fundamentals are built on time and space, subjects that align perfectly with cosmology,” said Cruickshank.

Google Arts & Culture is also celebrating Hawking in a new online exhibition, which can be seen here.

Actor Eddie Redmayne, who played Hawking in the 2014 hit film The Theory of Everything, celebrated his own birthday two days ago.

As part of his 40th birthday celebrations, he joined his dedicated fan base in making a large donation to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The British actor has been a patron of the association since 2015 after staff there introduced him to people living with the disease so he could understand more about it for his Oscar-winning performance as Professor Hawking.

Updated: January 08, 2022, 6:45 AM