Stephen Hawking life and biography

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Stephen Hawking biography

Date of birth : 1942-01-08
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Oxford, England, UK
Nationality : British
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2010-09-30
Credited as : Physicist and mathematician, scientist, Black Holes and Baby Universes

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Professor Stephen William Hawking is a British theoretical physicist, whose world-renowned scientific career spans over 40 years. His books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity and he is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and in 2009 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.

Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for thirty years, taking up the post in 1979 and retiring on 1 October 2009.He is also a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and a Distinguished Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. He is known for his contributions to the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity, especially in the context of black holes. He has also achieved success with works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general; these include the runaway best seller A Brief History of Time, which stayed on the British Sunday Times bestsellers list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.stephen hawking 1 Stephen Hawking: A Short Biography On His Life

Hawking’s key scientific works to date have included providing, with Roger Penrose, theorems regarding singularities in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes should emit radiation, which is today known as Hawking radiation (or sometimes as Bekenstein-Hawking radiation).

Hawking has a neuro-muscular dystrophy that is related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a condition that has progressed over the years and has left him almost completely paralysed.

Stephen Hawking was born to Dr. Frank Hawking, a research biologist, and Isobel Hawking. He had two younger sisters, Philippa and Mary and an adopted brother, Edward.Though Hawking’s parents were living in North London, they moved to Oxford while his mother was pregnant with Stephen, desiring a safer location for the birth of their first child (London was under attack at the time by the Luftwaffe).According to Hawking, a German V-2 missile struck only a few streets away.

stephen hawking 2 Stephen Hawking: A Short Biography On His LifeAfter Hawking was born, the family moved back to London, where his father headed the division of parasitology at the National Institute for Medical Research. In 1950, Hawking and his family moved to St Albans in Hertfordshire where he attended St Albans High School for Girls from 1950 to 1953. (At that time, boys could attend the Girls school until the age of 10.) From the age of 11, he attended St Albans School, where he was a good, but not exceptional, student.When asked later to name a teacher who had inspired him, Hawking named his mathematics teacher, Dikran Tahta. He maintains his connection with the school, giving his name to one of the four houses and to an extracurricular science lecture series. He has visited to deliver one of the lectures and has also granted a lengthy interview to pupils working on the school magazine, The Albanian.

Hawking was always interested in science.Inspired by his mathematics teacher, he originally wanted to study the subject at university. However, Hawking’s father wanted him to apply to University College, Oxford, where his father had attended. As University College did not have a mathematics fellow at that time, it wouldstephen hawking 3 Stephen Hawking: A Short Biography On His Life not accept applications from students who wished to read that discipline. Hawking therefore applied to read natural sciences, in which he gained a scholarship. Once at University College, Hawking specialised in physics. His interests during this time were in thermodynamics, relativity, and quantum mechanics. His physics tutor, Robert Berman, later said in The New York Times Magazine:

It was only necessary for him to know that something could be done, and he could do it without looking to see how other people did it. [...] He didn’t have very many books, and he didn’t take notes. Of course, his mind was completely different from all of his contemporaries.

Hawking was passing, but his unimpressive study habits resulted in a final examination score on the borderline between first and second class honours, making an “oral examination” necessary. Berman said of the oral examination:

And of course the examiners then were intelligent enough to realize they were talking to someone far more clever than most of themselves.

After receiving his B.A. degree at Oxford University in 1962, he stayed to study astronomy. He decided to leave when he found that studying sunspots, which was all the observatory was equipped for, did not appeal to him and that he was more interested in theory than in observation. He left Oxford for Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he engaged in the study of theoretical astronomy and cosmology.

Stephen Hawking 4 Stephen Hawking: A Short Biography On His LifeHawking was in the news in July 2004 for presenting a new theory about black holes which goes against his own long-held belief about their behaviour, thus losing a bet he made with Kip Thorne and John Preskill of Caltech. Classically, it can be shown that information crossing the event horizon of a black hole is lost to our universe, and that thus all black holes are identical beyond their mass, electrical charge and angular velocity (the “no hair theorem”). The problem with this theorem is that it implies the black hole will emit the same radiation regardless of what goes into it, and as a consequence that if a pure quantum state is thrown into a black hole, an “ordinary” mixed state will be returned. This runs counter to the rules of quantum mechanics and is known as the black hole information paradox.

Hawking's Publications:


* Singularities in Collapsing Stars and Expanding Universes with Dennis William Sciama, 1969 Comments on Astrophysics and Space Physics Vol 1 #1
* The Large Scale Structure of Spacetime with George Ellis, 1973
* The Nature of Space and Time with Roger Penrose, foreword by Michael Atiyah, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1996,
* The Large, the Small, and the Human Mind, (with Abner Shimony, Nancy Cartwright, and Roger Penrose), Cambridge University Press, 1997, (hardback), (paperback), Canto edition:
* Information Loss in Black Holes, Cambridge University Press, 2005
* God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History, Running Press, 2005

* A Brief History of Time, (Bantam Press 1988)
* Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, (Bantam Books 1993)
* The Universe in a Nutshell, (Bantam Press 2001)
* On The Shoulders of Giants. The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy, (Running Press 2002)
* A Briefer History of Time, coauthored with Leonard Mlodinow, (Bantam Books 2005)
* The Grand Design, coauthored with Leonard Mlodinow, (Bantam Press 2010)

Children's fiction
These are co-written with his daughter Lucy:
* George's Secret Key to the Universe, (Random House, 2007)
* George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt, (Simon & Schuster, 2009)

Films and series

* A Brief History of Time
* Stephen Hawking's Universe
* Horizon: The Hawking Paradox
* Masters of Science Fiction
* Stephen Hawking: Master of the Universe
* Into The Universe with Stephen Hawking

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