Local author pays tribute to Stephen Hawking

Jonathan Fisher.
Jonathan Fisher.

A Lisburn author who has battled serious health issues most of his adult life says books of condolence should be opened in his home city and across the UK in memory of Professor Stephen Hawking.

The world renowned physicist and author of ‘A Brief History of Time’ lived most of his life with a rare form of motor neurone disease. He passed away on Wednesday at the age of 76.

Jonathan Fisher, who last year released his second book ‘Ten Minutes on Mars’, described Professor Hawking as “one of the greatest men these isles have ever produced” and said his ideas “transcended both space-time and the universe.”

In an email to Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and several other local political representatives, he called for books of condolence to be opened in memory of the eminent British scientist.

Mr Fisher, who suffers from the rare condition Addison’s disease and uses a wheelchair, wrote: “Only last night I was watching a documentary on Netflix with my friend, it was called ‘The Truth Is In The Stars’. It was presented by William Shatner of Star Trek fame. His journey led him to the home of one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century, the eminent cosmologist and physicist, Professor Stephen Hawking.

“This morning I awoke to the sad news that Hawking had died. His ideas transcended both space-time and the universe. Stephen Hawking was confined to a wheelchair for most of his adult life, a situation that I can relate to. However, his wit and charm shone through all his adversities. Again, I empathise with the great man.

“I would, therefore, request that a book of condolences should be opened in our local museum — nay, books should be opened all through our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to pay our respects to one of the greatest men these isles have ever produced.”

At the age of 22 Stephen Hawking was told by doctors that he only had a few years to live. But while his illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser, he defied the odds to survive for more than half a century.

• Read related story - How Stephen Hawking defied the odds to survive with motor neurone disease for so long