Birthdate – 8 January 1942
Birthplace – Oxford, England, UK
Occupation– Scientist, Physicist, Cosmologist
Who is Stephen Hawking?
Stephen William Hawking is an English cosmologist, scientist, physicist, professor, and author and is famous for his pathbreaking scientific works on black holes and general relativity. His works also include Hawking radiation, Penrose-Hawking theorems, Hawking energy and many more. He is also known for his science books like, “A Brief History of Time-1988”, “The Grand Design-2010” etc. Hawking is also a lifetime member of Political Academy of Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of Royal Society of Arts(FRSA) and receiver of the highest civilian award in the U.S., i.e. the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Early Life and education
Stephen was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England, UK. His parents were Frank and Isobel Hawking. In spite of financial problems, both his parents had studied at Oxford University, where Frank studied medicine and Isobel studied Politics, Economics and Philosophy. Stephen has two younger sisters, Marry and Philippa, and an adopted brother, Edward.
Hawking started his schooling at Byron House School in London. He then enrolled in Radlett School in Hertfordshire for one year and from September 1952, he attended St Albans School. At the age of 13, his father wanted him to join Westminster School, but because of illness, he missed the scholarship exam. Without the financial assistance, he was unable to join the school, so he remained at the St Albans School.
In October 1959, when he was 17, he enrolled in University College in Oxford. From there, he received a first class BA(Hons.) in natural science and started his graduation from Trinity Hall, Cambridge in October 1962.
Stephen Hawking’s career
In 1966, he obtained the fellowship at Gonville and Caius College and in March 1966, he received Ph.D. in theoretical physics and applied mathematics with the specialty in cosmology and general relativity.
In January 1971, his essay “Black Holes” won the Gravity Research Foundation Award. His first book, “The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time”, jointly written with George Ellis was first published in 1973. In early 1973, Hawking started studying quantum mechanics and quantum gravity and in 1974, he showed that black holes emit radiation also known as Hawking radiation.
In 1975, he returned to Cambridge to a more senior post in the gravitational physics department and received Eddington Medal and Plus XI Gold Medal. After two years in 1977, Hawking was appointed as a professor in the gravitational physics department and awarded Albert Einstein Medal and doctorate from the University of Oxford in the same year.
His famous science book, “A Brief History of Time” was published in 1988 which a became a best seller. In 1993, he with Gary Gibbons published a book on Euclidean quantum gravity with his own articles on black holes and Big Bang. He continued his work and published, “The Universe in a Nutshell” in 2001, “A Brief History of Time” in 2005 which was an updated version of his early work and “God Created the Integers” in 2006. In 2009, he retired as Lucasian professor of mathematics from Cambridge University but he remained there as a director of research. In July 2017, Hawking received an Honorary Doctorate from Imperial College London.
Stephen Hawking’s personal life
Stephen Hawking was first married to Jane Wilde, a friend of his sister. They got engaged in October 1964 and they married on July 14, 1965. This couple had three children, Robert (1967), daughter Lucy(1970) and Timothy(1979).
Hawking’s second wife was Elaine Mason, she was one of his nurses, they were getting close to each other and both fell in love. Eventually, Stephen divorced Jane in 1995 and married to Mason in September in the same year. This marriage did not last much longer and the couple got divorced in 2006. After that, he came close to his first wife Jane, his children and his grandchildren.
Stephen Hawking’s disease
In 1963, when he was 21, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also known as motor neuron disease. That means neurons or nerve cells responsible for controlling the movement of voluntary muscles are not working properly.
Adams Award- 1966
Eddington Medal- 1975
Maxwell Medal and Prize- 1976
Heineman Prize- 1976
Hughes Medal- 1976
Albert Einstein Award- 1978
RAS Gold Medal- 1985
Dirac Medal- 1987
Wolf Prize- 1988
Prince of Asturias Award- 1989
Copley Medal- 2006
Presidential Medal of Freedom- 2009
Fundamental Physics Prize- 2012
BBFA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award- 2015