He has not only made guest appearances on Star Trek and The Simpsons, but globally-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has also earned huge praise thanks to his complex physical concepts made accessible to the ordinary guy via his bestselling book A Brief History of Time.
Few know that despite Dr. Hawking’s influential body of work, he has yet to be awarded the Nobel Prize. Despite this, he has earned some of the most remarkable distinctions in the scientific community.
Dr. Stephen Hawking is the author of some popular science books. Born on January 8, 1942, Dr. Hawking was born on the day of Galileo’s 300th death anniversary.
Although Hawking’s theories are challenging for a non-scientific mind to understand, this impressive cosmologist did not exactly show the level of brilliance you would expect in his school studies. His grades ranked the worst in his class when he was nine years old. He did exert some extra effort to drive those grades up to above average and little else.
That said, Stephen Hawking showed a keen interest in the workings of many things. He was known to take things such as radios and clocks apart but nevertheless, putting the disassembled items was something he wasn’t quite good at.
He would have loved to major in mathematics because of his intense liking for the subject from an early age, but his father thought otherwise. Stephen’s dad wanted him to take up medicine. However, Stephen Hawking wasn’t fascinated with biology since he found it too descriptive and extremely inexact.
Stephen Hawking apparently wanted to focus on distinct, precise concepts. Thus, although Stephen attended Oxford, he majored in physics. To combat the loneliness and isolation he felt in his first year at Oxford, Stephen Hawking joined the rowing team. He did not have a muscular or large build even before he was diagnosed with the motor neuron disease.
However, he served as a coxswain, a non-rowing position. As a coxswain, it was his responsibility to control the stroke and steering rate of the rowing team. As such, he was called by a fellow boatsman as an adventurous type of teammate.
Shortly after a week of getting to know Jane Wilde, who became his wife, Stephen Hawking went to the hospital to undergo two weeks of tests to find out what was wrong with his health. It was then that he was diagnosed with ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
He was told he most likely only had a few years to live. Although Stephen was shocked and kept wondering how this could happen to him, he felt luckier that others were far worse than he was.
In 1983, together with Jim Hartle, Stephen Hawking developed the theory that the universe is without boundaries. Utilizing the concepts of quantum mechanics and general relativity, he and Jim sought to understand the shape and nature of the universe. Thus, they proved that although the universe is a contained entity, it has no boundaries.
Stephen Hawking, genius that he is, actually lost a bet about black holes in 1997 with John Preskill, a fellow scientist. Hawking admitted he had been wrong when he said that information gets lost in black holes that eventually evaporate.
In 2004, he conceded he was wrong so when delivering a lecture during a scientific conference, Stephen declared black holes have more than one topology so when the information coming from all those topologies are measured, the information is not lost.
Truly a brilliant mind such as Stephen Hawking is still very much human in all aspects of the word.