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About Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking

Born: 8th January 1942, Oxford, England

Died: 14th March 2018, Cambridge, England


Stephen Hawking was never really at the 'top of the class' at school, however he developed an early curiosity as to how things work.  His classmates called him ‘Einstein’ as they clearly saw the signs of genius in him, missed by his teachers.  He went on to study Natural Science at Oxford University and then on to Cambridge where he gained his PhD in 'Properties of Expanding Universes'. (When his thesis was published on the University of Cambridge’s website in 2017, it caused the site to crash almost immediately due to the extraordinarily high demand!)


While Stephen Hawking was at University, he realised that there was something wrong with his health and at the age of 21 he was eventually diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease and given 2 years to live.  However, he did not let that stop him and he continued studying, got married and had 3 children, and continued working as an academic research fellow right up until he died in 2018 aged 76.


Stephen Hawking's scientific works included work on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Initially, Hawking radiation was controversial. By the late 1970s and following the publication of further research, the discovery was widely accepted as a significant breakthrough in theoretical physics. Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He was a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.


Hawking achieved commercial success with several works of popular science in which he discussed his theories and cosmology in general. His book A Brief History of Time appeared on the Sunday Times bestseller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks. Hawking was a Fellow of the Royal Society, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. In 2002, Hawking was ranked number 25 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons