Stephen Hawking’s star shone the brightest and not just for a ‘brief history in time’.

Dubai’s scientific and academic community, especially students three generations younger than him, has paid tribute to the pre-eminent theoretical physicist and cosmologist who has departed the world on Wednesday but left an unmatched study of the origin, evolution, and eventual fate of the universe.

Hasan Ahmad Al Hariri, CEO of Dubai Astronomy Group CEO, told Khaleej Times:

“Hawking was the greatest scientist of our age. He had proven to the world that conventional thinking can always be challenged so we can discover new things – like the black hole paradox.”

“But more than his scientific theories, he also taught us how to face the challenges of life. He suffered from a generative disease (ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as motor neuron disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease) but he did not give any excuse and overcame all obstacles. He has produced amazing theories and ideas which we observe today. He has paved the way for us to learn and understand more of our vast universe,” he added.

Students who are at least three generations younger than Hawking are equally inspired by his scientific legacy.

‘His ideas were astonishing. The way he opened up our minds about black holes sucked me out of ignorance. Our loss of the most intelligent person must be a wake up call for young scientists to aspire greatness,” said ‘Kaan Callidi, Year 11 student at GEMS Wellington Academy, Al Khail.

“I have read many of his books and the way he explained his ideas was simple and to the point, meaning whatever the age of his readers they can grasp his information and ideas,” added Lara, a grade 10 student at GEMS International School, Al Khail.

Lara was also impressed with Hawking as a father, she told Khaleej Times: “He wrote many children’s books with his daughter which showed his soft and humorous personality. Hawking was a strong-willed and determined man who was a great inspiration to many including me.”

From children’s books to pop culture – he made cameo appearances in ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Star Trek’ and his life was the subject of the 2014 film Oscar-winning film ‘The Theory of Everything,’ Hawking undoubtedly brought science to the people.

“His books and work made great sense, Dr Hawking made a lot of effort to make complex ideas understandable to the everyday man,” said Physics teacher Rodrigo Pacios.

“He did a lot to popularise physics to the community by his social presence, talks, videos, books, etc. He was a great loss to the scientific community, a man who was truly the face of Physics.”

“Hawking was an inspiration to innumerable people all around the world. He was initially depressed over his ALS diagnosis but he decided that there were goals he wanted to accomplish in his lifetime and so he began to study and work harder than ever before. He personally inspired and taught me that nothing is ever impossible if you put your heart and soul into it. Mind over matter proved to be very strong all throughout Hawking’s life,” added Sarah Ronad, 16, Grade XI student at JSS International School.

‘Disability didn’t stop him from achieving his goals. He didn’t need wings to fly as he worked his way around,” added Naufal Zamri and Amaan-ul-Haq, Grade 10 students at GEMS Wellington Academy, Al Khail.