Stephen William Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who served as director of research at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the time of his death. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge from 1979 to 2009.
Childhood and Upbringing
Hawking was born into a medical family in Oxford. He began his academic career in October 1959, when he was 17 years old, at University College, Oxford, where he got a first-class BA degree in physics. He began his graduate work at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in October 1962, and received his PhD in applied mathematics and theoretical physics in March 1966, with a focus on general relativity and cosmology. Hawking was diagnosed with an early-onset, slow-progressing form of motor neuron disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS) in 1963, which gradually paralyzed him over the decades. After losing his ability to speak, he used a speech-generating gadget to communicate, first with a portable switch and then with a single cheek muscle.
Hawking’s scientific contributions included cooperation with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the context of general relativity, as well as the theoretical prediction that black holes radiate radiation, which is referred to as Hawking radiation. Hawking radiation was first contentious. The discovery was widely recognized as a major achievement in theoretical physics by the late 1970s, following the release of additional studies. Hawking was the first to propose a cosmology theory based on a combination of general relativity and quantum mechanics. He was a strong advocate of quantum physics’ many-worlds interpretation.
On March 14, 2018, at the age of 76, Stephen Hawking died at his home in Cambridge. “He passed away painlessly,” his relatives said. Figures from science, entertainment, politics, and other fields have paid tribute to him. Students and guests signed a book of condolences as the Gonville and Caius College flag was flown at half-mast. During the closing ceremony of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, IPC President Andrew Parsons paid tribute to Hawking in his closing remarks.