Roger Penrose’s splendid obituary of Prof Stephen Hawking (15 March) overlooked one very important aspect. He was a passionate campaigner for peace and protester against nuclear weapons. I only had the privilege to meet him once, at the Royal Society, where he launched in the UK the internationally renowned Doomsday Clock from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He would not have been pleased by the current hysteria of the cold war being resurrected in such a ghastly way.
Dr David Lowry
Former director, European Proliferation Information Centre, London
• Unlike some of his fellow scientists, Stephen Hawking went fairly gently on believers. Probably best styled as an agnostic rather than a hard-line atheist, Hawking was memorable for his mention of “the mind of God” in A Brief History of Time. This was a phrase that spawned a considerable amount of helpful thinking on the relationship between religion and science.
• As he grew older, Hawking clearly became increasingly doubtful about the traditional view of God. However, his tone was always courteous.
Rev Andrew McLuskey
• A brief history of A Brief History of Time: Worldwide sales: 10,000,000. Copies read in entirety: 1,000,000. Readers who understood it: 10,000. Readers who interacted: 1,000. Time Lords who disagreed: 1. Yours in awe
Fr Alec Mitchell
• I agree with Frances Ryan that Prof Hawking gave disabled people great hope (Opinion, 15 March). But just as the Paralympics inspire able-bodied people to appreciate their good fortune and more fully realise their physical potential, so Hawking inspired able-minded people to more fully realise their mental potential to the point where they could understand the previously “too difficult” concepts of spacetime, black holes and the big bang.
• While celebrating the life and achievement of Stephen Hawking, it might be timely to remember the inventor of the world-famous Steiff teddy bear. Margarete Steiff (1847-1909) was left unable to walk after suffering polio at 18 months old. In her wheelchair she eventually set up her own soft toy business and invented the first bear with movable joints. The rest is history – especially remarkable history for a disabled woman in the 19th century.
Dr Brigid Purcell
• How significant that “the world’s most brilliant mind” was focussed on saving the NHS from creeping privatisation?