The world-renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist was best known for his work on black holes. Hawking theorized that, contrary to the prevailing scientific belief that black holes were inescapable for all forms of matter and energy, they actually emitted a form of radiation ― now known as Hawking radiation. He also played a key role in the mathematical effort to unify Einstein’s general theory of relativity with the emergent field of quantum physics.
ALSO KNOWN AS: Stephen William Hawking
FAMOUS AS: Theoretical physicist, Cosmologist, Author
BORN ON: 8 January 1942
AGE: 76 Years
BORN IN: Oxford, United States
DIED ON: 14 March 2018 (aged 76)
Cambridge, United Kingdom
British cosmologist Stephen William Hawking was born in England on Jan. 8, 1942 — 300 years to the day after the death of the astronomer Galileo Galilei. He attended University College, Oxford, where he studied physics, despite his father’s urging to focus on medicine. Hawking went on to Cambridge to research cosmology, the study of the universe as a whole. Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He was not expected to live more than two years. Completing his doctorate did not appear likely. Yet, Hawking defied the odds and attained his PhD degree in applied mathematics and theoretical physics, specialising in general relativity and cosmology, in March 1966 and his essay titled “Singularities and the Geometry of Space-Time” shared top honours with one by Penrose to win that year’s prestigious Adams Prize.
- In his work, and in collaboration with Penrose, Hawking extended the singularity theorem concepts first explored in his doctoral thesis. This included not only the existence of singularities but also the theory that the universe might have started as a singularity. Their joint essay was the runner-up in the 1968 Gravity Research Foundation competition. In 1970 they published a proof that if the universe obeys the general theory of relativity and fits any of the models of physical cosmology developed by Alexander Friedmann, then it must have begun as a singularity.
- In 1970, Hawking postulated what became known as the second law of black hole dynamics, that the event horizon of a black hole can never get smaller.
- His essay titled “Black Holes” won the Gravity Research Foundation Award in January 1971. Hawking’s first book, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, written with George Ellis, was published in 1973.
- Beginning in 1973, Hawking moved into the study of quantum gravity and quantum mechanics.
- Hawking was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1974, a few weeks after the announcement of Hawking radiation. At the time, he was one of the youngest scientists to become a Fellow.
- In 1975, he was awarded both the Eddington Medal and the Pius XI Gold Medal, and in 1976 the Dannie Heineman Prize, the Maxwell Prize and the Hughes Medal. He was appointed a professor with a chair in gravitational physics in 1977. The following year he received the Albert Einstein Medal and an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford.
- In 2007, at the age of 65, Hawking made an important step toward space travel. While visiting the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, he was given the opportunity to experience an environment without gravity.
- In 2012, Hawking showed off his humorous side on American television, making a guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory. Playing himself on this popular comedy about a group of young, geeky scientists.
- In November of 2014, a film about the life of Stephen Hawking and Jane Wilde was released. The Theory of Everything stars Eddie Redmayne as Hawking.
- In May 2016, Hawking hosted and narrated Genius, a six-part television series which enlists volunteers to tackle scientific questions that have been asked throughout history.
Hawking died at the age of 76 in his home in Cambridge, England, early in the morning of 14 March 2018, according to a family spokesman. His family issued a statement expressing their grief. They did not reveal the cause of his death, stating that he “died peacefully”.
Happy Little Facts About Stephen Hawking
- When he was 9 years old, his grades ranked among the worst in his class. With a little more effort, he brought those grades up to about average, but not much better.
- When he was 21, he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and according to the doctors he could just live for a few years but amazingly he is still alive in the age of 70.
- Although Stephen Hawking is completely paralyzed but he still can communicate with the help of a Speech Generating Device. He can speak up to 15 words per minute.
- Before his illness, he was one of the most important members of Oxford Rowing Team. His dedication and perfection made him very popular and he was called as “the adventurous type” by one of his fellow boatman.
- At the St. Albans High School, he built a computer along with his group of friends and his Mathematics teacher Dikran Tahta from an old telephone switchboard, clock parts and other recycled components.
- Stephen hawking is an advocate of searching for other habitable planets in order to survive the human race and in 2007 he took a zero-gravity flight to experience the weightlessness.
- As a member of the Advisory Board of Starmus Festival, Stephen Hawking had a major role in acknowledging and promoting science communication. The Stephen Hawking Medal For Science Communication is an annual award initiated in 2016 that honours members of the arts community for contributions that help build awareness of science. The medal features a portrait of Professor Hawking by Alexei Leonov, and the other side represents an image of Leonov himself performing his famous space walk and the iconic “Red Special.”
Stephen Hawking quotes
- We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.
- Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.
- It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination. Its a crazy world out there. Be curious.