Stephen Hawking - Basic Information:
Born: January 9, 1942, Oxfordshire, England
- B.A., University College, Oxford, 1962
- Ph.D., Trinity Hall, Cambridge, 1966
- Jane Wilde, 1965 to 1991
- Elaine Mason, 1995 to 2006
- Robert, born 1967
- Lucy, 1969
- Timothy, 1979
Stephen Hawking - Fields of Study:
Hawking's major research is in the areas of theoretical cosmology, focusing on the evolution of the universe as governed by the laws of general relativity. He is most well known for his work in the study of black holes. Among the work that Hawking has been instrumental in developing have included:
- Proved that singularities are general features of spacetime
- Provided a mathematical proof that information which fell into a black hole was lost
- Demonstrated that black holes evaporate through Hawking radiation
Stephen Hawking - Medical Condition:
At age 21, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease). Given only three years to live, he confesses that this helped motivate him in his physics work. At the time of this writing, Hawking is 67 years old, which makes him a profound medical miracle and, in my opinion, an example of how drive can motivate longevity, even in the face of ALS.
As part of his condition, Hawking has lost his ability to speak, so he utilizes device that can translate his eye movements (since he can no longer utilize a keypad) to speak in a digitized voice.
Stephen Hawking - Physics Career:
For most of his career, Hawking served as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a position once held by Sir Isaac Newton. Following a long tradition, Hawking is retiring this position at age 67, in spring of 2009, though he will continue research at the University's cosmology institute. In 2008 he also accepted a position as a visiting researcher at Waterloo, Ontario's Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.
Stephen Hawking - Popular Publications:
In addition to a variety of textbooks on the subjects of general relativity and cosmology, Stephen Hawking has written a number of popular books on these subjects:
- A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (1988)
- The Universe in a Nutshell (2001)
- On the Shoulders of Giants (2002)
- A Briefer History of Time (2005)
- God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History (2007)
- George's Secret Key to the Universe with Lucy Hawking (2007)
- George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt with Lucy Hawking (2009)
- The Grand Design with Leonard Mlodinow (2010)
- My Brief History - an autobiography
Stephen Hawking in Popular Culture:
Stephen Hawking's distinctive appearance, voice, and popularity have caused him to be represented in the popular culture. He's made appearances on the popular television shows The Simpsons, Futurama, as well as a cameo on Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1993 and The Big Bang Theory. Hawking's voice has also been emulated in the creation of a "gangsta rap" style CD by M.C. Hawking: A Brief History of Rhyme.