- NAME: Stephen Hawking
- OCCUPATION: Physicist
- BIRTH DATE: January 08, 1942 (Age: 71)
- EDUCATION: Oxford University, University of Cambridge, California Institute of Technology, Gonville & Caius College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Oxford, England, United Kingdom
- Full Name: Stephen William Hawking
- AKA: Stephen Hawking
- ZODIAC SIGN: Capricorn
Best Known For
Stephen Hawking is known for his work regarding black holes and for authoring several popular science books. He suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Stephen Hawking's chief theory is that black holes should emit radiation, which is known as Hawking radiation. His popular science book, "A Brief History of Time," has made science accessible to everyone.
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Stephen Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England. At an early age, Hawking showed a passion for science and the sky. At age 21, while studying cosmology at the University of Cambridge, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Despite his debilitating illness, he has done ground-breaking work in physics and cosmology, and his several books have helped to make science accessible to everyone.
"My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."
"God not only plays dice. He sometimes throws the dice where they cannot be seen."
"Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change."
“I was bored with life before my illness. There had not seemed to be anything worth doing."
“I believe that life on Earth is at an ever increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers. I think the human race has no future if it doesn't go into space.”
“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”
"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."
“It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.”
“If, like me, you have looked at the stars, and tried to make sense of what you see, you too have started to wonder what makes the universe exist.”
“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
“Science is beautiful when it makes simple explanations of phenomena or connections between different observations. Examples include the double helix in biology, and the fundamental equations of physics."
“People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.”
“We shouldn't be surprised that conditions in the universe are suitable for life, but this is not evidence that the universe was designed to allow for life. We could call order by the name of God, but it would be an impersonal God. There's not much personal about the laws of physics.”
The eldest of Frank and Isobel Hawking's four children, Stephen William Hawking was born on the 300th anniversary of the death of Galileo—long a source of pride for the noted physicist—on January 8, 1942. He was born in Oxford, England, into a family of thinkers. His Scottish mother, Isobel Hawking, had earned her way into Oxford University in the 1930s—a time when few women thought of going to college—making her one of the college's first female students. His father, Frank Hawking, another Oxford graduate, was a respected medical researcher with a specialty in tropical diseases.
Stephen Hawking's birth came at an inopportune time for his parents, who didn't have much money. The political climate was also tense, as England was dealing with World War II and the onslaught of German bombs. In an effort to seek a safer place to have their first child, Frank moved his pregnant wife from their London home to Oxford. The Hawkings would go on to have two other children, Mary (1943) and Philippa (1947). A second son, Edward, was adopted in 1956.
The Hawkings, as one close family friend described them, were an "eccentric" bunch. Dinner was often eaten in silence, each of the Hawkings intently reading a book. The family car was an old London taxi, and their home in St. Albans was a three-story fixer-upper that never quite got fixed. The Hawkings also kept bees in the basement and made fireworks in the greenhouse.
In 1950, Hawking's father took work as the head of the Division of Parasitology at the National Institute of Medical Research, and spent the winter months in Africa doing research. He wanted his eldest child to go into medicine, but at an early age, Hawking showed a passion for science and the sky. That was evident to his mother, who, along with her children, often stretched out in the backyard on summer evenings to stare up at the stars. "Stephen always had a strong sense of wonder," she remembered. "And I could see that the stars would draw him."
Early in his academic life, Hawking, while recognized as bright, was not an exceptional student. At one point during his high school years, he was third from the bottom of his class. But Hawking focused on pursuits outside of school; he loved board games, and he and a few close friends created new games of their own. At the age of 16, Hawking, along with several friends, constructed a computer out of recycled parts for solving rudimentary mathematical equations.
Hawking was also frequently on the go. "[He was] hardly ever still," a family friend once said of him. With his sister, Mary, Hawking, who loved to climb, devised different entry routes into the family home.
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