Facts about Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is 76 years old
Born: January 8, 1942
Birthplace: Oxford, England
Best known as: The author of A Brief History of Time


Stephen Hawking Biography

Stephen Hawking is widely considered to be the world’s foremost living theoretical physicist. He’s an expert on black holes whose stated intention is to unify quantum mechanics with Albert Einstein‘s general theory of relativity, forming a single theory to explain the origin (and end) of the universe.

Stephen Hawking entered University College, Oxford in 1959, at age 17, and graduated with a first-class degree in 1962. That year he began graduate school at Cambridge, earning a Ph.D. in applied mathematics and theoretical physics in 1966, with his 1965 thesis titled Properties of Expanding Universes. By then his reputation as a precocious thinker was already established, and he plunged into work on black holes and the geometry of space-time.

Hawking was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig‘s disease) in 1963, and by the end of the 1960s was confined to a wheelchair for daily life. The disability didn’t seem to slow him down: He accepted the celebrated post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge in 1979 and remained there until stepping down in 2009. He later accepted the post of Dennis Stanton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, and founded the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge.

Stephen Hawking is the author of the best-selling 1988 book A Brief History of Time. His fame as a thinker has made him something of a pop-culture celebrity: he has made guest appearances on the TV shows Star Trek and The Simpsons. His memoir My Brief History was published in 2013.


Extra credit

According to Stephen Hawking’s own website, the Lucasian Chair at Cambridge “was founded in 1663 with money left in the will of the Reverend Henry Lucas, who had been the Member of Parliament for the University. It was first held by Isaac Barrow, and then in 1663 by Isaac Newton“… Stephen Hawking was played by actor Eddie Redmayne in the 2014 biopic The Theory of Everything. Redmayne won the Academy Award for best actor in a leading role, as well as winning the BAFTA in the same category at the British Academy film awards.


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