ISLAMABAD (DAWN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Perhaps few on this earth have come close to epitomising the term 'differently enabled' as did physicist Stephen Hawking, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 76.
In addition to the books he penned, he is credited with having carried Albert Einstein's revolutionary scientific ideas forward, be it the behaviour of black holes in space, or the discussion on space-time continuum.
Yet the reason he is a household name in much of the world is that he brought science, specifically expositions on the workings of the universe and the physics that underpins them, to the average reader.
In clear, understandable, and yet academically sure terms, Hawking presented to the layman a view of the universe that perhaps many had never before had the opportunity or ability to contemplate.
In doing so, he set the bar for future generations of writers of science - particularly the hard sciences.
The fact that Hawking achieved all this despite a debilitating illness makes his life even more extraordinary.
At the age of 22, Hawking was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, a motor neuron disorder that causes the loss of control of muscle movement which leaves sufferers eventually bereft of their ability to walk, eat, speak, and in the end, breathe.
At the time, he was given about two years to live.
But for decades, confined to a wheelchair and able to speak only through a voice synthesiser, Hawking - despite the immense odds stacked against him - left his mark upon the world of physics.
As the first scientist to work out a theory that explained cosmology "as a union of relativity and quantum mechanics", his academic legacy will continue to inspire many scientists looking for answers in the stars.
Additionally, he will serve as a notable inspiration for millions of the 'differently enabled' across the world.
As Hawking himself said in 2015, "If you feel you are trapped in a black hole, don't give up. There is a way out."
Dawn is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media.