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10 quick facts about world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking

On 14th March 2018, British physicist Stephen Hawking passed away. BrainGain magazine brings you 10 quick facts.
BY Skendha Singh |   14-03-2018
Stephen Hawking
Image courtesy: Lwp Kommunikáció , CC by 2.0

A few hours ago, in Cambridge, one of the world’s greatest cosmologists - Dr. Stephen Hawking passed away. In the space of a lifetime he changed cosmology, became a symbol of intellectual triumph against physical odds, and a global mascot for science.

Here are 10 quick facts on the man who became legend.

  1. Both parents, although poor, read at the University of Oxford. His father studied medicine; and his mother studied philosophy, politics and economics.
  2. Stephen enrolled at St. Albans School in 1952. His former classmate wrote that as a schoolboy, he was “a practical joker with a talent for slow bicycle races, academically clever and clearly destined for science...”
  3. One of his formative influences at St. Albans was Dick Tahta – a maths teacher, with whom Stephen once built a giant proto-computer from scrap.
  4. Although his father wanted him to study medicine, Stephen's first choice was maths. Since Oxford did not offer maths at that time, he read for a degree in physics.
  5. In 1963, shortly after his 21st birthday, Stephen was diagnosed with ALS, a form of motor-neuron disease. He was given only two years to live.
  6. Stephen Hawking received a doctorate in cosmology from the University of Cambridge in 1965. His thesis was titled, “Properties of Expanding Universes.”
  7. At the age of 37, Dr. Hawking became the Lucasian Professor of mathematics at Cambridge – Britain’s most distinguished chair. He succeeded giants like Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage, and Paul Dirac.
  8. Do you want to guess how many honorary degrees Dr. Hawking had? 13.
  9. In 1988, Dr. Hawking wrote ‘A Brief History of Time’. The book stayed on the Sunday Times’ bestsellers list for 237 weeks, sold 10 million copies, and was translated into 40 languages.
  10. Dr. Hawking loved scientific bets. He famously lost $100 to Gordon Kane of Michigan University in 2012. The bet? Scientists would not find the Higgs-boson particle.

Bonus fact: Benedict Cumberbatch played a young Hawking at Cambridge in the movie ‘Hawking’ (2004). Eddie Redmayne gave an Oscar-winning performance as the physicist in ‘The Theory of Everything’ (2014).


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