A PROFESSOR from the University of Portsmouth inspired by Stephen Hawking has paid tribute to his hero of science.
David Wands, professor of cosmology at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, was a student at the University of Cambridge when Professor Hawking was writing his book A Brief History of Time.
Now Prof Wands has paid tribute to Prof Hawking, who died yesterday aged 76 at his Cambridge home.
He said he remembered attending lectures from the man who inspired his choice to go into the field of cosmology.
Prof Wands, 51, said: ‘He is a huge inspiration to everyone in the science community and to me. His death is sad of course, but the immediate reaction is what a life he had. He was certainly someone who made the most of it.’
Prof Wands had the opportunity to work with Prof Hawking and attended talks.
He said: ‘I was fortunate enough to be invited along to his birthday party last year – both the public event and then the private party back at his house after.
‘He was like that, so generous to the science community, and supportive of scientists around the world.’
Prof Wands added: ‘He was so well-known everywhere and as soon as you heard that computer voice you knew it was him.
‘The word iconic truly sums him up.’