Inspiration That Excites
Stephen Hawking, an iconic, inspirational figure in the scientific community, said, “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”
Hawking passed away over Spring Break. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis caused him to suffer and become wheelchair-bound for the majority of his life. However, he never considered himself to be burdened, and constantly worked to solve the problems of the universe one day at a time. After his long and fruitful life as a scientist who inspired researchers around the globe, Hawking will be remembered for his work as a brilliant scientist and for his kind heart. These two features make him an inspiration to the scientific community -- not only at Hopkins, but around the globe.
I read the news of his death on my cell phone as I woke up to get ready for a slew of college trips. As a woman in science, I was shocked by my emotional reaction and immediately looked for his own words as a method for comfort and healing. After reading one of Hawking’s books over the summer, falling in love with physics and his intense understanding of the universe, I’ve learned that even though his life ended, his work that inspired my passion for science would live forever and continue to inspire people everyday.
While Hawking is an international icon for those who are passionate about science, not all whom we consider inspirational figures are household names. Inspiration, and those who acquire it, develops from anywhere and everywhere. By simply being at Hopkins, we are surrounded by inspiring people every day. Teachers who lead us to spark new ideas in our minds and give us the tools to solve problems. Friends who challenge us to think outside the box and dare to be creative. Family members who accept us for all of our talents and gifts, sharing in our successes and helping us up when we fall. They all inspire each one of us to continue to better ourselves rather than staying stagnant in our actions and ideals.
Every interaction we have can inspire and excite new thinking or changes in prior ideas. Over the past few years, people have been inspired to take action for their rights, through demonstrations such as the Women’s March, March for Our Lives, and school walkouts. While these actions may carry some political context, people sometimes participate for other reasons. As a society, individuals have motivated each other to work harder and fight for their beliefs. However, while these moments are described by many as the utmost inspiring, they are few and far between.
We are too often unaware of this constant inspiration that surrounds us. By resting in our own worlds and avoiding connections with one another, we become fixated on our own work and miss out on the moments of immense creativity and inspiration that could lead any of us to our next discovery.
When I was researching Hawking’s life and work, and reading some of his memorable quotes, I was inspired to express gratitude towards those who influence me and are present in my own backyard. As I wrote notes of gratitude, I observed the impact of acknowledging those who inspire me. People were touched by the simple statement of “Thank you,” two words we can never truly say enough.
Thank those who inspire you. Not just by saying it to them, but by getting out a notecard and writing something down. If we are able to notice their minute, discrete acts, we can also be inspirational to others. In this case, Hawking’s study of physics applies through Newton’s Third Law: “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Create those actions by seizing opportunities not only to see the inspiration, but to be an inspiration for someone else.