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Hello, China! Stephen Hawking debuts Weibo account

Updated: 2016-04-12 16:23

Hello, China! Stephen Hawking debuts Weibo account

The screenshot taken on Apr 12, 2016 shows Stephen Hawking's Weibo account. [Photo/Weibo]

Stephen Hawking, known as one of the greatest living scientific minds in the world, opened his account Tuesday on Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblogging service in China, attracting a flood of followers.

In his first Weibo post, the British astrophysicist briefly reminisced about his previous trips to China and welcomed communication through social media.

"I last visited China in 2006 when I took part in a physics conference in Beijing. It was an extraordinary experience. My first trip was in 1985 when I travelled across your remarkable country by train. In my physical travels, I have only been able to touch the surface of your fascinating history and culture…" Hawking posted.

As author of A Brief History of Time, a popular science book, Hawking also became a household name outside academia in China to a degree rare for scientists.

The success of the book, which was introduced to China in late 1980s, drew public attention to the scientist's personal life. His long-time struggle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) was gradually made known to the public, making him an inspiration for many Chinese people.

The latest demonstration of his popularity in the country is his immediate influence on social media, just like a pop star. Within six hours after his Weibo debut, the famed physicist accumulated more than one million followers. His greeting messages had been forwarded more than 190,000 times, with more than 180,000 comments.

Over-excited fans rushed to leave messages mixed with English and Chinese in a sign that it was emotionally overwhelming for Chinese people to have direct communication with a revered academician they have long admired.

Exclamation marks and emojis were added to comments in a fan-obsessed style, such as this one: "It's amazing!!!!! I am your fan. Welcome to Weibo."

Hawking hasn't replied to any comment yet.

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