Stephen Hawking, modern cosmology’s brightest star, dies aged 76

Stephen Hawking died Wednesday after complications due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive neurodegenerative disease. He was 76.

The world-renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist was best known for his work on black holes. Hawking theorized that, contrary to the prevailing scientific belief that black holes were inescapable for all forms of matter and energy, they actually emitted a form of radiation ― now known as Hawking radiation. He also played a key role in the mathematical effort to unify Einstein’s general theory of relativity with the emergent field of quantum physics.

Hawking used his position as one of the world’s most famous scientists as a platform to discuss a wide range of issues, from the existence of extraterrestrial life to the nature of philosophy. He skyrocketed to public prominence in 1988, when he published his first general-audience book, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. The cosmology treatise has sold approximately 10 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling science books of all time.

In 1963, when he was just 21 years old, Hawking was famously diagnosed with the debilitating motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Though 80 percent of those with ALS die within five years of diagnosis, and Hawking’s own doctors gave him roughly two years to live, he survived for decades, perhaps longer than any other patient with the disease in medical history. Hawking used a wheelchair to move around and a sophisticated computer system to speak for much of his time as a public figure.

The physicist’s inspiring ― and turbulent ― personal story was dramatized in the 2014 movie “The Theory of Everything,” which was based on a memoir by Hawking’s first wife, Jane Wilde. Actor Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Hawking in the film won him an Oscar for best actor.

Hawking was born on Jan. 8, 1942 ― the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death ― in Oxford, England, to Frank, a physician specializing in tropical disease, and Isobel, a medical secretary. He and his three younger siblings grew up mostly in the town of St. Albans, just north of London, in what has been described as a highly intellectually-engaged home.

At the St. Albans School, Hawking was an indifferent student, preferring to spend his time playing board games and tinkering with computers. But he nonetheless gained admittance to his father’s alma mater, University College at Oxford University, in 1959, at the age of 17.

Upon arriving at Oxford, Hawking toyed with the idea of studying either math or medicine before eventually settling on physics. His attitude toward academic work remained lackadaisical in college. He rarely attended lectures and has said that he spent only 1,000 hours on studies during his three years at Oxford, or just an hour a day.

Still, Hawking’s natural brilliance started to shine through as an undergraduate ― and he apparently felt that his tutors resented him for doing so well with so little work. When he submitted his final thesis, it was given a grade on the border between first-class honors and second-class honors, so Hawking had to face an oral exam that would determine his grade. Knowing his reputation, he reportedly told his examiners, “If you award me a First, I will go to Cambridge. If I receive a Second, I shall stay in Oxford, so I expect you will give me a First.”

He got a First. And, as promised, Hawking enrolled in graduate school at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1962, studying under the physicist Dennis Sciama and the famed astronomer Fred Hoyle. He became interested in the then-nascent study of black holes and singularities, the existence of which had been implied by Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

While studying at Cambridge, Hawking met Wilde, a fellow St. Albans native who was a student in modern languages at Westfield College in London at the time. Before the two started dating, Hawking collapsed while ice skating and couldn’t get up. His mother made him go to the doctor, who diagnosed him with ALS and estimated he had just over two years to live.

Years later, during a symposium at Cambridge on his 70th birthday, Hawking reflected on how much he struggled to stay motivated after his diagnosis. Why work so hard for a Ph.D. when you could be dead in two years?

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. Stephen Hawking, as he celebrated his 70th birthday

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet,” he said. “Try to make sense of what you see and about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”

Hawking’s motor control deteriorated rapidly; he was soon walking to class on crutches. Yet the disease spurred him to deepen his relationship with Wilde quickly. They married in 1965.

After receiving his doctorate in cosmology, Hawking stayed at Cambridge to continue studying some of the most essential questions about the structure of the universe. In 1968, a year after Jane gave birth their eldest son, Roger, Hawking took a post at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge and began the mature phase of his academic career.

Over the next decade, Hawking published a string of groundbreaking papers on cosmology and theoretical physics that made him a celebrity in the scientific community.

He and English mathematician Roger Penrose wrote key papers in the late 1960s that related the Big Bang ― the event that created the universe ― and black holes, proving that both were the result of singularities in the fabric of space-time. In the early 1970s, Hawking and several other physicists co-wrote a proof of the hypothesis that all black holes can be described in terms of just their mass, angular momentum and electric charge.

It was in 1974 that Hawking proposed what is widely considered his most significant theory: that black holes can emit subatomic particles, now known as Hawking radiation. Prior to his paper, physicists had been sure that nothing could escape the crushing gravity of a black hole. The existence of Hawking radiation also implies that black holes can eventually wither away and die, something that had previously been inconceivable to scientists.

Soon after publishing his paper, Hawking, just 32 years old, was named a fellow of the prestigious Royal Society. He briefly taught at the California Institute of Technology before assuming the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, a post dating back more than 400 years that was once held by Isaac Newton.

Though Hawking’s family life flourished during this time ― he and Jane Hawking went on to have two more children ― his health did not. He reluctantly started using a wheelchair in 1969, and by the mid-70s, he could no longer feed or clothe himself.

In 1985, Hawking contracted pneumonia while on a trip to Switzerland. Doctors performed a tracheotomy that allowed him to breathe but rendered him unable to speak naturally. At first, he communicated using word cards, which was agonizingly slow. But in 1986, computer scientist Walter Woltosz gave him a device that would vocalize words he typed using a joystick. Hawking called this system, which has since been upgraded several times, “The Computer.” Its electronic voice was an integral part of the physicist’s public image.

Hawking first came up with the idea of writing a book about cosmology for a general audience in 1982. He said he conceived of the project to “earn money to pay [his] daughter’s school fees.” The first draft of A Brief History of Time was finished in 1984, but Hawking’s publisher felt it was too difficult for laypeople to understand, so he went back to work. The revision process became more complicated after Hawking lost his voice in 1985, but he managed to publish the book in 1988.

It was a massive hit: The book was on The New York Times’ best-seller list for three years and The Sunday Times’ U.K. best-seller list for nearly five. Its publication propelled Hawking to international fame that’s endured to this day. He published five additional general-audience books on science, plus one memoir and four children’s books. He also guest-starred on both “The Simpsons” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Stephen and Jane Hawking separated after several years of tension in 1990, which Jane said was exacerbated by her husband’s newfound “fame and fortune.” The physicist began a relationship with Elaine Mason, one of his nurses. After his divorce from Jane Hawking, he married Mason in 1995.

Hawking and his ex-wife did not speak for several years, but they started communicating again after he and Mason got divorced in 2007. Stephen and Jane Hawking later began living around the corner from one another in Cambridge.

In 2011, Hawking appeared on the Discovery Channel TV series “Curiosity,” in which he reflected on the origins of the universe and rejected the likelihood of both a God and an afterlife. (He once dismissed the latter as “a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”) Only in confronting the finite nature of death, he said, do we appreciate the remarkable beauty of life in the present.

“There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either,” Hawking said. “We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful.”

In addition to his two former wives, Hawking is survived by three children and three grandchildren.

Source: HuffingtonPost

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New toothpaste formula said to fix cracked teeth, restore tooth enamel

If you are trying to avoid undergoing the dentist’s drill and exposing your body to dangerous cavity fillings, a revolutionary new toothpaste could be the ideal solution. The toothpaste, which is made using components that mimic your tooth’s natural enamel, builds up in the cracks in teeth. The chemical, known as crystalline calcium phosphate, works by diluting the acid on the tooth’s surface. After a few minutes, it crystallizes and adheres itself to the structure of the tooth’s natural enamel. It can also combat bacteria.

The toothpaste was developed by Japanese scientist Dr. Kazue Yamagishi of the FAP Dental Institute. It is easy to apply at home, and its liquid form enables it to reach the smallest areas of the teeth. Some experiments show that teeth that have been treated using the paste are identical to healthy teeth, while cavities that are filled with it have been found to be every bit as sturdy as their metal counterparts.

This is a remarkably better solution than the traditional method of filling cavities, which entails removing decaying parts of the teeth and then applying a filling. It’s particularly useful in the case of newly emerging cavities, as too much healthy tooth needs to be removed for the filling to stick. If ignored, however, the bacteria in these tiny cavities can destroy the tooth’s enamel and lead to deeper cavities, possibly even necessitating crowns or root canals.

Traditional dental treatments have tremendous shortcomings

According to Dr. Yamagishi, around 60 percent of dental therapy entails the re-treatment of teeth that have already undergone previous dental procedures. This, she points out, is because the metal alloys and resins used in fillings are different from the tooth’s natural composition, leading to decay at the point of contact. This is why regenerating tooth enamel is an ideal approach that should help lead to reduction of tooth decay.

A study of the toothpaste’s efficacy was published in Nature in 2005, and Dr. Yamagishi’s website states that the product is expected to hit the market some time this year.

A quarter of  the population has 11 or more fillings

This is great news for people who are concerned about what their dentist is using to fill their cavities. Some dental amalgams still contain mercury, which is highly toxic, despite American Dental Association claims to the contrary. People who have more than eight dental fillings were found to have double the blood mercury levels of those without fillings in a recent study of more than 15,000 people. This would imply that the mercury contained in fillings leaches out of teeth and enters the bloodstream. This is particularly dangerous in people who have high mercury levels in the first place, for example, from eating a lot of certain types of seafood. The average American has three dental fillings, but a quarter of the population actually has 11 or more!

Even small amounts of mercury dangerous

The World Health Organization has stated that even small amounts of mercury can be hazardous to your health, listing it as one of the top 10 chemicals that are of concern to public health due to its toxic effects on the lungs, immune system, kidneys, digestive system, nervous system and skin.

People who are hoping to avoid these chemicals have been turning to natural dental treatments, such as dental soaps, oil pulling and tooth powders. While these methods can often work well for maintenance and prevention, cavities that have already taken hold do need to be treated. Once this new toothpaste formula hits the market, consumers will be able to deal with cavities, cracked teeth and other dental issues without putting their health at risk.

Source: Natural News

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Baring Asia And Onex Complete Acquisition Of Thomson Reuters’ Intellectual Property & Science Business For $3.55 Billion

Onex Corporation (“Onex”) (TSX: OCX) and Baring Private Equity Asia (“Baring Asia”) today announced their respective private equity funds completed the acquisition of the Intellectual Property & Science business from Thomson Reuters, for $3.55 billion.

The newly independent company will be known as Clarivate Analytics (beginning in early 2017), and will continue to own and operate a collection of leading subscription-based businesses focused on scientific and academic research, patent analytics and regulatory standards, pharmaceutical and biotech intelligence, trademark protection, domain brand protection and intellectual property management. The company’s many well‐known brands include Web of Science, Cortellis, Thomson Innovation, Derwent World Patents Index, Thomson CompuMark, MarkMonitor, Techstreet and Thomson IP Manager, among others.

The Onex and Baring Asia groups made an equity investment of $1.6 billion for 100% ownership of Clarivate Analytics, of which $1.2 billion was from Onex’ flagship fund, Onex Partners IV, and certain limited partners as co-investors. Onex’ share of the investment as a Limited Partner in the Fund and as a co-investor was approximately $420 million.

About Onex

Onex is one of the oldest and most successful private equity firms. Through its Onex Partners and ONCAP private equity funds, Onex acquires and builds high-quality businesses in partnership with talented management teams. At Onex Credit, Onex manages and invests in leveraged loans, collateralized loan obligations and other credit securities. The Company has approximately $23 billion of assets under management, including $6 billion of Onex proprietary capital, in private equity and credit securities. With offices in Toronto, New York, New Jersey and London, Onex invests alongside its fund investors and is the largest limited partner in each of its private equity funds.

Onex’ businesses have assets of $36 billion, generate annual revenues of $23 billion and employ approximately 145,000 people worldwide. Onex shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the stock symbol OCX. For more information on Onex, visit its website at www.onex.com. The Company’s security filings can also be accessed at www.sedar.com.

About Baring Private Equity Asia

Baring Private Equity Asia is one of the largest and most established independent alternative asset management firms in Asia, with total investments and committed capital of over $10 billion. The firm runs a pan-Asian investment program, sponsoring buyouts and providing growth capital to companies for expansion or acquisitions, as well as a private credit and a pan-Asian real estate private equity investment program. The firm has been investing in Asia since its formation in 1997 and has over 140 employees located across offices in Hong Kong, China, India, Japan and Singapore. Baring Asia currently has over 35 portfolio companies active across Asia with a total of 150,000 employees and revenue of approximately $31 billion in 2015. For more information, please visit www.bpeasia.com.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements that are based on current expectations and are subject to known and unknown uncertainties and risks, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated or implied by such forward-looking statements. Onex and Baring Asia are under no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein should material facts change due to new information, future events or otherwise.

Source: BPEA

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