Stephen Hawking submitted a final paper in the days before his death that could potentially one day lead to a major breakthrough. The paper, titled "A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation," was submitted about 10 days before the death of the world famous physicist, who is listed among its co-authors. The paper lays the groundwork for how a future space probe could be used to test the existence of the so-called "multiverse," or the notion that the universe we know is only one of many. According to the Sunday Times, Hawking completed his work on his deathbed and it will be published by a leading scientific journal after it is reviewed. The Times reports that, should evidence of the multiverse be found using the methods laid out in the paper, the authors would likely become candidates for the Nobel prize.
Unfortunately for Hawking, the awards are not given posthumously. While Hawking will never receive the honor, he came to be known over the course of his incredible career as one of the most brilliant thinkers of his, or any, day. He was also a pop culture darling, having appeared on shows including The Simpsons and Star Trek: The Next Generation. "His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring," NASA tweeted following his death on Wednesday at the age of 76, some half a century after doctors told him he had just two years to live. "May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014." (Read more Stephen Hawking stories.)