Stephen Hawking predicted the end of the world in final research paper submitted just two weeks before his death

Fiona Simpson
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Professor Stephen Hawking submitted a research paper just two weeks before his death suggesting how scientists could detect another universe and predicting the end of the world.

The world renowned physicist may have won a Nobel Prize for his final work which he completed from his deathbed, his co-author professor Thomas Hertog has said.

According to the Sunday Times, the theory questions an issue that had bothered Hawking, who died aged 76 on Wednesday, for 35 years.

In his “no boundary theory” devised with James Hartle, the pair described how the Earth hurtled into existence during the Big Bang.

But the theory also predicted a multiverse meaning the phenomenon was accompanied by a number of other “Big Bangs” creating separate universes.

Stephen Hawking died on Wednesday aged 76 (Getty Images)

In his final paper, Hawking, along with the professor for theoretical psychics at KU Leuven University in Belgium, explored how these universes could be found using a probe on a spaceship.

The paper also predicted how our universe would eventually fade into blackness as the stars run out of energy.

Professor Stephen Hawking, who had died aged 76, and Nobel Prize winner Dorothy Hodgkin (PA)

Hertog, who co-authored the paper named A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation, told the Sunday Times: “He has often been nominated for the Nobel and should have won it. Now he never can.”

The theory won mixed feedback from peers, some of whom questioned why Hawking found the ideas interesting.

Others suggested the potentially groundbreaking feedback was “what cosmology needed.”

Carlos Frenk, professor of cosmology at Durham University, agreed that it has previously been impossible to measure other universes.

The world-famous scientist died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Professor Hawking's children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement: "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.

"He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.”

Hawking was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease aged 22 and was told by doctors he had just years to live.

His death prompted an outpouring of support from scientists, politicians and celebrities alike.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was one of the first to pay tribute.

Sharing a photo of himself and Hawking on Twitter, he said: "His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it's not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018."

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said Hawking was "an inspiration to us all, whatever our station in life, to reach for the stars".