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Korea's Stephen Hawkings

Posted February. 18, 2016 07:25,   

Updated February. 18, 2016 07:32


World-famous English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has once said, "The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognized. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away." Reflecting his popularity, a drama titled "Hawking" aired in BBC in 2004 and Hollywood movie "The Theory of Everything" was released in 2014.

Lee Sang-mook, professor of School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Seoul National University, is called Korea's Stephen Hawking. He was paralyzed in 2006 due to an overturn accident in the U.S., but overcame despair and physical limits as Hawking did. At the event "Congratulations, Korea's Hawkings" held at Gangnam Severance Hospital on Tuesday, he delivered a hopeful message, saying, "Socrates said living like a human being is not about being born and grown in a rich family, but standing firm against ordeals and adversity that life throws to you. I'm happy that I was able to fulfill such conditions of life through disability."

The heroes at the event were five college freshmen and four others graduating who overcame disability. Based on his experience, Professor Lee said, "Disability ties your body down but can't tie down your dream and hope. Though you must feel uncomfortable, there is nothing that can't be done due to disability." He said he was able to live a meaningful life and meet a broader world after he was tied to the wheelchair. On his positive mindset, his friends have joked that he was injured in the negative thinking part of his brain when the accident happened.

At the movie "The Theory of Everything," Hawking said there is no limit to human being's effort. No matter how hard life gets, we can do something and accomplish it, adding that where there is life, there is hope. Having had to suffer pain when they were eight months old or four years old, Korea's young Hawkings have made their utmost efforts for their life. To them, born with a silver spoon in his or her mouth or not is nothing.

고미석기자 mskoh119@donga.com