Stephen Hawking, astrophysicist and some-time model railroader, dies at 76

Hawking also used trains in thought experiments on time travel
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Stephen Hawking, a famed scientist who brought science to the masses despite being confined to a wheelchair for decades, has died. He was 76.

In its obituary of the man, the Wall Street Journal quotes Hawking from his own autobiography in which he discusses his love for model railroads, boats, airplanes, and making games.

“I think these games, as well as the trains, boats, and airplanes, came from an urge to know how systems worked and how to control them,” Hawking wrote.

Hawking used his interests to read and explain the universe to others, including in a 2010 article in the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper about building a time machine train.

In one segment of that article, Hawking uses a train analogy to describe how passengers on the train circling the Earth near the speed of light would age about a week, but travel 150 years into the future. His descriptions were also developed into a video that now circulates on YouTube.

Hawking was born in Oxford, England, in 1942. In the 1960s, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The immediate cause of his death, in Cambridge, England, has not been disclosed.

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