News of the death of Dr. Stephen Hawking was greeted with sadness by many Intel employees who worked with the famed British physicist. On Wednesday morning, they spoke of their good fortune at having been able to work with him and the grace and humor with which he lived his life.
Intel issued an official statement after Hawking’s death: “RIP Professor Stephen Hawking, an expansive thinker who inspired us all. Intel is honored to have worked with him over the years and we are saddened by this news. Few people transcend their fields the way Professor Hawking did during his lifetime and he will be sorely missed.”
Others at Intel offered condolences and their personal memories:
Pete Denman, Intel user experience designer:
“Stephen had a combination of tenacity and brilliance, but that’s not what made him special — at least to me. He was deeply kind and funny, and interested in people. He asked questions about you and interjected humor. I am going to miss him.”
Travis Bonifield, Intel engineer:
“There are among us those who chase their passion, no matter the cost, those who fight all odds to strive toward a goal, even a goal that may never be achieved. While these are generally somewhat unbalanced people, we look on them with admiration, respect and even awe. Not necessarily for what they achieve, but for their incredible will to pursue it in the face of impossible obstacles. Stephen Hawking was such a man. His body failed him, but he more than made up for it with his will to discover, to dream and to understand the universe around him.
“After most would have given up, Stephen pressed on with vigor and grace, and in so doing gave to all the precious gift of knowledge, which will continue making an impact long after those who knew him have passed away. It is so fitting that the day of Stephen’s passing, there is forecast to be a solar storm that will light up the northern sky and catch the attention of the world. Even the stars mark his passing with a requiem of light.”
Lama Nachman, Intel Fellow:
“Working with Stephen was the most meaningful and challenging endeavor of my life. It fed my soul and really hit home how technology can profoundly improve people’s lives. We will continue developing and refining this technology in the open source community in his honor, to reach all people in need. This is something he cared about deeply.
“On a personal note, while the world mourns an amazing scientist who changed our understanding of the universe, I am mourning a dear friend whom I admired dearly and enjoyed deep conversations with about politics, science and technology. I had planned to see him at the end of the month, and test out our latest tech with him. I will miss him dearly. Rest In Peace, Stephen.”