Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking

Overview
Stephen William Hawking, CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

, CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, FRS, FRSA (born 8 January 1942) is an English theoretical physicist
Theoretical physics
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics which employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena...

 and cosmologist
Physical cosmology
Physical cosmology, as a branch of astronomy, is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its formation and evolution. For most of human history, it was a branch of metaphysics and religion...

, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences
Pontifical Academy of Sciences
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is a scientific academy of the Vatican, founded in 1936 by Pope Pius XI. It is placed under the protection of the reigning Supreme Pontiff. Its aim is to promote the progress of the mathematical, physical and natural sciences and the study of related...

, and in 2009 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, the highest civilian award in the United States.

Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for 30 years, taking up the post in 1979 and retiring on 1 October 2009.
He is now Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge.
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Quotations

There ought to be something very special about the boundary conditions of the universe and what can be more special than that there is no boundary?

As quoted in The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1986) by John D. Barrow|John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler|Frank J. Tipler.

What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary.

Der Spiegel (17 October 1988)

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.

Der Spiegel (17 October 1988)

I don't believe that the ultimate theory will come by steady work along existing lines. We need something new. We can't predict what that will be or when we will find it because if we knew that, we would have found it already! It could come in the next 20 years, but we might never find it.

Science Watch (September 1994) File:Nuclear fireball.jpg|144px|thumb|right|Although September 11 was horrible, it didn't threaten the survival of the human race, like nuclear weapons do.

All of my life, I have been fascinated by the big questions that face us, and have tried to find scientific answers to them. Perhaps that is why I have sold more books on physics than Madonna has on sex.

The Illustrated A Brief History of Time (1996) [Disputed... see Discussion page.]
Encyclopedia
Stephen William Hawking, CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

, CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, FRS, FRSA (born 8 January 1942) is an English theoretical physicist
Theoretical physics
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics which employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena...

 and cosmologist
Physical cosmology
Physical cosmology, as a branch of astronomy, is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its formation and evolution. For most of human history, it was a branch of metaphysics and religion...

, whose scientific books and public appearances have made him an academic celebrity. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences
Pontifical Academy of Sciences
The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is a scientific academy of the Vatican, founded in 1936 by Pope Pius XI. It is placed under the protection of the reigning Supreme Pontiff. Its aim is to promote the progress of the mathematical, physical and natural sciences and the study of related...

, and in 2009 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, the highest civilian award in the United States.

Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for 30 years, taking up the post in 1979 and retiring on 1 October 2009.
He is now Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge. He is also a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
Gonville and Caius College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The college is often referred to simply as "Caius" , after its second founder, John Keys, who fashionably latinised the spelling of his name after studying in Italy.- Outline :Gonville and...

 and a Distinguished Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is an independent, resident-based research institute devoted to foundational issues in theoretical physics located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Perimeter Institute was founded in 1999 by Mike Lazaridis...

 in Waterloo, Ontario.
He is known for his contributions to the fields of cosmology
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

 and quantum gravity
Quantum gravity
Quantum gravity is the field of theoretical physics which attempts to develop scientific models that unify quantum mechanics with general relativity...

, especially in the context of black hole
Black hole
A black hole is a region of spacetime from which nothing, not even light, can escape. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. Around a black hole there is a mathematically defined surface called an event horizon that...

s. He has also achieved success with works of popular science
Popular science
Popular science, sometimes called literature of science, is interpretation of science intended for a general audience. While science journalism focuses on recent scientific developments, popular science is broad-ranging, often written by scientists as well as journalists, and is presented in many...

 in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general; these include the runaway best seller A Brief History of Time
A Brief History of Time
A Brief History of Time is a popular science book written by renown physicist Stephen Hawking and first published by the Bantam Dell Publishing Group in 1988. It became a best-seller and has sold more than 10 million copies...

, which stayed on the British Sunday Times
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times is a British Sunday newspaper.The Sunday Times may also refer to:*The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times...

best-sellers list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.

Hawking's key scientific works to date have included providing, with Roger Penrose
Roger Penrose
Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS is an English mathematical physicist and Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College...

, theorem
Theorem
In mathematics, a theorem is a statement that has been proven on the basis of previously established statements, such as other theorems, and previously accepted statements, such as axioms...

s regarding gravitational singularities
Gravitational singularity
A gravitational singularity or spacetime singularity is a location where the quantities that are used to measure the gravitational field become infinite in a way that does not depend on the coordinate system...

 in the framework of general relativity
General relativity
General relativity or the general theory of relativity is the geometric theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1916. It is the current description of gravitation in modern physics...

, and the theoretical prediction that black hole
Black hole
A black hole is a region of spacetime from which nothing, not even light, can escape. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. Around a black hole there is a mathematically defined surface called an event horizon that...

s should emit radiation, which is today known as Hawking radiation
Hawking radiation
Hawking radiation is a thermal radiation with a black body spectrum predicted to be emitted by black holes due to quantum effects. It is named after the physicist Stephen Hawking, who provided a theoretical argument for its existence in 1974, and sometimes also after the physicist Jacob Bekenstein...

 (or sometimes as Bekenstein
Jacob Bekenstein
Jacob David Bekenstein is an Israeli theoretical physicist who has contributed to the foundation of black hole thermodynamics and to other aspects of the connections between information and gravitation.-Biography:...

–Hawking radiation).

Hawking has a motor neurone disease
Motor neurone disease
The motor neurone diseases are a group of neurological disorders that selectively affect motor neurones, the cells that control voluntary muscle activity including speaking, walking, breathing, swallowing and general movement of the body. They are generally progressive in nature, and can cause...

 that is related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input...

, a condition that has progressed over the years and has left him almost completely paralysed.

Early life and education


Stephen Hawking was born on 8 January 1942 to Dr. Frank Hawking, a research biologist
Biologist
A biologist is a scientist devoted to and producing results in biology through the study of life. Typically biologists study organisms and their relationship to their environment. Biologists involved in basic research attempt to discover underlying mechanisms that govern how organisms work...

, 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
North London
North London is the northern part of London, England. It is an imprecise description and the area it covers is defined differently for a range of purposes. Common to these definitions is that it includes districts located north of the River Thames and is used in comparison with South...

, they moved to Oxford
Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

 while his mother was pregnant with Stephen, desiring a safer location for the birth of their first child. (London was under attack
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

 at the time by the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

.) According to Hawking, a German V-2 missile struck only a few streets away.

After Hawking was born, the family moved back to London, where his father headed the division of parasitology
Parasitology
Parasitology is the study of parasites, their hosts, and the relationship between them. As a biological discipline, the scope of parasitology is not determined by the organism or environment in question, but by their way of life...

 at the National Institute for Medical Research
National Institute for Medical Research
The National Institute for Medical Research, commonly abbreviated to NIMR, is a medical research facility situated in Mill Hill, on the outskirts of London, England. It is mainly funded by the Medical Research Council, or MRC, and is its largest establishment and the only one designated as an...

. In 1950, Hawking and his family moved to St Albans, Hertfordshire, where he attended St Albans High School for Girls
St Albans High School for Girls
St Albans High School is a private Church of England girls' day school founded in 1889 for girls aged 4 to 18, located in the city of St Albans, Hertfordshire with a primary school in the nearby village of Wheathampstead. It provides girls with good quality educational provision in all sections of...

 from 1950 to 1953. (At that time, boys could attend the Girls' school until the age of ten.) From the age of eleven, he attended St Albans School
St Albans School (Hertfordshire)
St Albans School is an independent school in the city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, in the East of England. Entry before Sixth Form is for boys only, and co-educational thereafter. Founded in 948 by Wulsin , St Albans School is not only the oldest school in Hertfordshire but also one of the oldest...

, 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
Dikran Tahta
Dikran "Dick" Tahta was a British-Armenian mathematician, teacher and author.-Biography:Dikran Tahta is a descendant of Ottoman Armenian family who settled in Manchester after the First World War...

. He maintains his connection with the school, giving his name to one of the four houses
House system
The house system is a traditional feature of British schools, and schools in the Commonwealth. Historically, it was associated with established public schools, where a 'house' refers to a boarding house or dormitory of a boarding school...

 and to an extracurricular science lecture series. He has visited it 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
University College, Oxford
.University College , is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. As of 2009 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £110m...

, where his father had attended. As University College did not have a mathematics fellow at that time, it would 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
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

. His interests during this time were in thermodynamics
Thermodynamics
Thermodynamics is a physical science that studies the effects on material bodies, and on radiation in regions of space, of transfer of heat and of work done on or by the bodies or radiation...

, relativity
Theory of relativity
The theory of relativity, or simply relativity, encompasses two theories of Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity. However, the word relativity is sometimes used in reference to Galilean invariance....

, and quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

. His physics tutor, Robert Berman, later said in The New York Times Magazine
The New York Times Magazine
The New York Times Magazine is a Sunday magazine supplement included with the Sunday edition of The New York Times. It is host to feature articles longer than those typically in the newspaper and has attracted many notable contributors...

:
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:
After receiving his B.A. degree at Oxford in 1962, he stayed to study astronomy. He decided to leave when he found that studying sunspot
Sunspot
Sunspots are temporary phenomena on the photosphere of the Sun that appear visibly as dark spots compared to surrounding regions. They are caused by intense magnetic activity, which inhibits convection by an effect comparable to the eddy current brake, forming areas of reduced surface temperature....

s, 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
Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Trinity Hall is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. It is the fifth-oldest college of the university, having been founded in 1350 by William Bateman, Bishop of Norwich.- Foundation :...

, where he engaged in the study of theoretical astronomy
Theoretical astronomy
Based on strict dictionary definitions, "astronomy" refers to "the study of objects and matter outside the Earth's atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties" In some cases, as in the introduction of the introductory textbook The Physical Universe by Frank Shu, "astronomy" may be used...

 and cosmology
Cosmology
Cosmology is the discipline that deals with the nature of the Universe as a whole. Cosmologists seek to understand the origin, evolution, structure, and ultimate fate of the Universe at large, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order...

.

Career in theoretical physics


Almost as soon as he arrived at Cambridge, he started developing symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input...

 (ALS, known colloquially in the United States as Lou Gehrig
Lou Gehrig
Henry Louis "Lou" Gehrig , nicknamed "The Iron Horse" for his durability, was an American Major League Baseball first baseman. He played his entire 17-year baseball career for the New York Yankees . Gehrig set several major league records. He holds the record for most career grand slams...

's disease), a type of motor neurone disease
Motor neurone disease
The motor neurone diseases are a group of neurological disorders that selectively affect motor neurones, the cells that control voluntary muscle activity including speaking, walking, breathing, swallowing and general movement of the body. They are generally progressive in nature, and can cause...

 which would cost him almost all neuromuscular control. During his first two years at Cambridge, he did not distinguish himself, but, after the disease had stabilised and with the help of his doctoral tutor, Dennis William Sciama
Dennis William Sciama
Dennis William Siahou Sciama FRS was a British physicist who, through his own work and that of his students, played a major role in developing British physics after the Second World War. He is considered as one of the fathers of modern cosmology.-Life:Sciama was born in Manchester, England...

, he returned to working on his PhD.

Hawking was elected as one of the youngest Fellows of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 in 1974, was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 in 1982, and became a Companion of Honour
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

 in 1989. Hawking is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a nontechnical online magazine that covers global security and public policy issues, especially related to the dangers posed by nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction...

.

In 1974, he accepted the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar visiting professorship at the California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

 (Caltech) to work with his friend, Kip Thorne
Kip Thorne
Kip Stephen Thorne is an American theoretical physicist, known for his prolific contributions in gravitation physics and astrophysics and for having trained a generation of scientists...

, who was a faculty member there. He continues to have ties with Caltech, spending a month each year there since 1992.

Hawking's achievements were made despite the increasing paralysis caused by the ALS. By 1974, he was unable to feed himself or get out of bed. His speech became slurred so that he could be understood only by people who knew him well. In 1985, he caught pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 and had to have a tracheotomy
Tracheotomy
Among the oldest described surgical procedures, tracheotomy consists of making an incision on the anterior aspect of the neck and opening a direct airway through an incision in the trachea...

, which made him unable to speak at all. A Cambridge scientist built a device that enables Hawking to write onto a computer with small movements of his body, and then have a voice synthesiser speak what he has typed.

Research fields


Hawking's principal fields of research are theoretical cosmology
Physical cosmology
Physical cosmology, as a branch of astronomy, is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its formation and evolution. For most of human history, it was a branch of metaphysics and religion...

 and quantum gravity
Quantum gravity
Quantum gravity is the field of theoretical physics which attempts to develop scientific models that unify quantum mechanics with general relativity...

.

In the late 1960s, he and his Cambridge friend and colleague, Roger Penrose
Roger Penrose
Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS is an English mathematical physicist and Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College...

, applied a new, complex mathematical model they had created from Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

's theory of general relativity
General relativity
General relativity or the general theory of relativity is the geometric theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1916. It is the current description of gravitation in modern physics...

. This led, in 1970, to Hawking proving the first of many singularity theorems
Penrose-Hawking singularity theorems
The Penrose–Hawking singularity theorems are a set of results in general relativity which attempt to answer the question of when gravitation produces singularities.A singularity in solutions of the Einstein field equations is one of two things:...

; such theorems provide a set of sufficient conditions for the existence of a gravitational singularity
Gravitational singularity
A gravitational singularity or spacetime singularity is a location where the quantities that are used to measure the gravitational field become infinite in a way that does not depend on the coordinate system...

 in space-time. This work showed that, far from being mathematical curiosities which appear only in special cases, singularities are a fairly generic feature of general relativity.

He supplied a mathematical proof
Mathematical proof
In mathematics, a proof is a convincing demonstration that some mathematical statement is necessarily true. Proofs are obtained from deductive reasoning, rather than from inductive or empirical arguments. That is, a proof must demonstrate that a statement is true in all cases, without a single...

, along with Brandon Carter
Brandon Carter
Brandon Carter, FRS is an Australian theoretical physicist, best known for his work on the properties of black holes and for being the first to name and employ the anthropic principle in its contemporary form. He is a researcher at the Meudon campus of the Laboratoire Univers et Théories, part of...

, Werner Israel
Werner Israel
Werner Israel, OC, FRSC, FRS is a Canadian physicist.Born in Berlin, Germany and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, he received his B.Sc. in 1951 and his M.Sc. in 1954 from the University of Cape Town. He received his Ph.D...

 and D. Robinson, of John Wheeler
John Archibald Wheeler
John Archibald Wheeler was an American theoretical physicist who was largely responsible for reviving interest in general relativity in the United States after World War II. Wheeler also worked with Niels Bohr in explaining the basic principles behind nuclear fission...

's no-hair theorem – namely, that any black hole is fully described by the three properties of mass, angular momentum
Angular momentum
In physics, angular momentum, moment of momentum, or rotational momentum is a conserved vector quantity that can be used to describe the overall state of a physical system...

, and electric charge
Electric charge
Electric charge is a physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when near other electrically charged matter. Electric charge comes in two types, called positive and negative. Two positively charged substances, or objects, experience a mutual repulsive force, as do two...

.

Hawking also suggested upon analysis of gamma ray
Gamma ray
Gamma radiation, also known as gamma rays or hyphenated as gamma-rays and denoted as γ, is electromagnetic radiation of high frequency . Gamma rays are usually naturally produced on Earth by decay of high energy states in atomic nuclei...

 emissions that after the Big Bang
Big Bang
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the young Universe to cool and resulted in...

, primordial mini black hole
Black hole
A black hole is a region of spacetime from which nothing, not even light, can escape. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. Around a black hole there is a mathematically defined surface called an event horizon that...

s were formed. With Bardeen and Carter, he proposed the four laws of black hole mechanics, drawing an analogy with thermodynamics
Thermodynamics
Thermodynamics is a physical science that studies the effects on material bodies, and on radiation in regions of space, of transfer of heat and of work done on or by the bodies or radiation...

. In 1974, he calculated that black holes should thermally create and emit subatomic particles, known today as Bekenstein-Hawking radiation, until they exhaust their energy and evaporate.

In collaboration with Jim Hartle
James Hartle
James Burkett Hartle is an American physicist. He has been a professor of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara since 1966, and he is currently a member of the external faculty of the Santa Fe Institute...

, Hawking developed a model in which the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 had no boundary in space-time, replacing the initial singularity of the classical Big Bang models with a region akin to the North Pole: one cannot travel north of the North Pole, as there is no boundary. While originally the no-boundary proposal predicted a closed universe
Shape of the Universe
The shape of the universe is a matter of debate in physical cosmology over the local and global geometry of the universe which considers both curvature and topology, though, strictly speaking, it goes beyond both...

, discussions with Neil Turok
Neil Turok
Neil Geoffrey Turok is the Director of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He is the son of Mary and Ben Turok, activists in the anti-apartheid movement and the African National Congress.-Career:...

 led to the realisation that the no-boundary proposal is also consistent with a universe which is not closed.

Along with Thomas Hertog at CERN
CERN
The European Organization for Nuclear Research , known as CERN , is an international organization whose purpose is to operate the world's largest particle physics laboratory, which is situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border...

, in 2006 Hawking proposed a theory of "top-down cosmology," which says that the universe had no unique initial state, and therefore it is inappropriate for physicists to attempt to formulate a theory that predicts the universe's current configuration from one particular initial state. Top-down cosmology posits that in some sense, the present "selects" the past from a superposition of many possible histories. In doing so, the theory suggests a possible resolution of the fine-tuning question
Fine-tuned universe
The fine-tuned universe is the proposition that the conditions that allow life in the Universe can only occur when certain universal fundamental physical constants lie within a very narrow range, so that if any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different the universe would be...

: It is inevitable that we find our universe's present physical constants, as the current universe "selects" only those past histories that led to the present conditions. In this way, top-down cosmology provides an anthropic
Anthropic principle
In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

 explanation for why we find ourselves in a universe that allows matter and life, without invoking an ensemble of multiple universes
Multiverse
The multiverse is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise all of reality.Multiverse may also refer to:-In fiction:* Multiverse , the fictional multiverse used by DC Comics...

.

Hawking's many other scientific investigations have included the study of quantum cosmology
Quantum cosmology
In theoretical physics, quantum cosmology is a field attempting to study the effect of quantum mechanics on the formation of the universe, or its early evolution, especially just after the Big Bang...

, cosmic inflation
Cosmic inflation
In physical cosmology, cosmic inflation, cosmological inflation or just inflation is the theorized extremely rapid exponential expansion of the early universe by a factor of at least 1078 in volume, driven by a negative-pressure vacuum energy density. The inflationary epoch comprises the first part...

, helium
Helium
Helium is the chemical element with atomic number 2 and an atomic weight of 4.002602, which is represented by the symbol He. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table...

 production in anisotropic
Anisotropy
Anisotropy is the property of being directionally dependent, as opposed to isotropy, which implies identical properties in all directions. It can be defined as a difference, when measured along different axes, in a material's physical or mechanical properties An example of anisotropy is the light...

 Big Bang universes, large N cosmology, the density matrix
Density matrix
In quantum mechanics, a density matrix is a self-adjoint positive-semidefinite matrix of trace one, that describes the statistical state of a quantum system...

 of the universe, topology and structure of the universe, baby universes, Yang-Mills instanton
Instanton
An instanton is a notion appearing in theoretical and mathematical physics. Mathematically, a Yang–Mills instanton is a self-dual or anti-self-dual connection in a principal bundle over a four-dimensional Riemannian manifold that plays the role of physical space-time in non-abelian gauge theory...

s and the S matrix
S matrix
In physics, the scattering matrix relates the initial state and the final state of a physical system undergoing a scattering process...

, anti de Sitter space
Anti de Sitter space
In mathematics and physics, n-dimensional anti de Sitter space, sometimes written AdS_n, is a maximally symmetric Lorentzian manifold with constant negative scalar curvature...

, quantum entanglement
Quantum entanglement
Quantum entanglement occurs when electrons, molecules even as large as "buckyballs", photons, etc., interact physically and then become separated; the type of interaction is such that each resulting member of a pair is properly described by the same quantum mechanical description , which is...

 and entropy
Entropy
Entropy is a thermodynamic property that can be used to determine the energy available for useful work in a thermodynamic process, such as in energy conversion devices, engines, or machines. Such devices can only be driven by convertible energy, and have a theoretical maximum efficiency when...

, the nature of space and time, including the arrow of time
Arrow of time
The arrow of time, or time’s arrow, is a term coined in 1927 by the British astronomer Arthur Eddington to describe the "one-way direction" or "asymmetry" of time...

, spacetime foam, string theory
String theory
String theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything , a manner of describing the known fundamental forces and matter in a mathematically complete system...

, supergravity
Supergravity
In theoretical physics, supergravity is a field theory that combines the principles of supersymmetry and general relativity. Together, these imply that, in supergravity, the supersymmetry is a local symmetry...

, Euclidean
Euclidean space
In mathematics, Euclidean space is the Euclidean plane and three-dimensional space of Euclidean geometry, as well as the generalizations of these notions to higher dimensions...

 quantum gravity, the gravitation
Gravitation
Gravitation, or gravity, is a natural phenomenon by which physical bodies attract with a force proportional to their mass. Gravitation is most familiar as the agent that gives weight to objects with mass and causes them to fall to the ground when dropped...

al Hamiltonian
Hamiltonian (quantum mechanics)
In quantum mechanics, the Hamiltonian H, also Ȟ or Ĥ, is the operator corresponding to the total energy of the system. Its spectrum is the set of possible outcomes when one measures the total energy of a system...

, Brans-Dicke and Hoyle-Narlikar theories of gravitation
Gravitation
Gravitation, or gravity, is a natural phenomenon by which physical bodies attract with a force proportional to their mass. Gravitation is most familiar as the agent that gives weight to objects with mass and causes them to fall to the ground when dropped...

, gravitational radiation, and wormhole
Wormhole
In physics, a wormhole is a hypothetical topological feature of spacetime that would be, fundamentally, a "shortcut" through spacetime. For a simple visual explanation of a wormhole, consider spacetime visualized as a two-dimensional surface. If this surface is folded along a third dimension, it...

s.

At a George Washington University
George Washington University
The George Washington University is a private, coeducational comprehensive university located in Washington, D.C. in the United States...

 lecture in honour of NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

's fiftieth anniversary, Hawking theorised on the existence of extraterrestrial life, believing that "primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare."

Losing an old bet


Hawking 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
Scientific wager
A scientific wager is a wager whose outcome is settled by scientific method. They typically consist of an offer to pay a certain sum of money on the scientific proof or disproof of some currently uncertain statement. Some wagers have specific date restrictions for collection, but many are open...

 he made with Kip Thorne and John Preskill
John Preskill
John Phillip Preskill is an American theoretical physicist and the Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology ....

 of Caltech. Classically, it can be shown that information crossing the event horizon
Event horizon
In general relativity, an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer. In layman's terms it is defined as "the point of no return" i.e. the point at which the gravitational pull becomes so great as to make escape impossible. The most common case...

 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
Angular velocity
In physics, the angular velocity is a vector quantity which specifies the angular speed of an object and the axis about which the object is rotating. The SI unit of angular velocity is radians per second, although it may be measured in other units such as degrees per second, revolutions per...

 (the "no hair theorem
No hair theorem
The no-hair theorem postulates that all black hole solutions of the Einstein-Maxwell equations of gravitation and electromagnetism in general relativity can be completely characterized by only three externally observable classical parameters: mass, electric charge, and angular momentum...

"). 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
Black hole information paradox
The black hole information paradox results from the combination of quantum mechanics and general relativity. It suggests that physical information could disappear in a black hole, allowing many physical states to evolve into the same state...

.

Human spaceflight


At the fiftieth anniversary of NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 in 2008, Hawking gave a keynote speech on the final frontier exhorting and inspiring the space technology community on why we (the human race) explore space.

At the celebration of his sixty-fifth birthday on 8 January 2007, Hawking announced his plan to take a zero-gravity
Weightlessness
Weightlessness is the condition that exists for an object or person when they experience little or no acceleration except the acceleration that defines their inertial trajectory, or the trajectory of pure free-fall...

 flight in 2007 to prepare for a sub-orbital spaceflight
Sub-orbital spaceflight
A sub-orbital space flight is a spaceflight in which the spacecraft reaches space, but its trajectory intersects the atmosphere or surface of the gravitating body from which it was launched, so that it does not complete one orbital revolution....

 in 2009 on Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic is a company within Richard Branson's Virgin Group which plans to provide sub-orbital spaceflights to the paying public, along with suborbital space science missions and orbital launches of small satellites...

's space service. Billionaire Richard Branson
Richard Branson
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, best known for his Virgin Group of more than 400 companies....

 pledged to pay all expenses for the latter, costing an estimated £100,000. Stephen Hawking's zero-gravity flight in a "Vomit Comet
Vomit Comet
A Reduced Gravity Aircraft is a type of fixed-wing aircraft that briefly provides a nearly weightless environment in which to train astronauts, conduct research and film motion pictures....

" of Zero Gravity Corporation
Zero Gravity Corporation
Zero Gravity Corporation is an American company based in Vienna, Virginia, formerly of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which operates weightless flights from United States airports...

, during which he experienced weightlessness eight times, took place on 26 April 2007. He became the first quadriplegic
Quadriplegia
Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, is paralysis caused by illness or injury to a human that results in the partial or total loss of use of all their limbs and torso; paraplegia is similar but does not affect the arms...

 to float in zero-gravity. This was the first time in forty years that he moved freely, without his wheelchair. The fee is normally US$3,750 for 10–15 plunges
Parabola
In mathematics, the parabola is a conic section, the intersection of a right circular conical surface and a plane parallel to a generating straight line of that surface...

, but Hawking was not required to pay the fee. A bit of a futurist, Hawking was quoted before the flight saying:

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

, he suggested that space was the Earth's long term hope. He continued this theme at a 2008 Charlie Rose interview.

Existence and nature of extraterrestrial life


Hawking has indicated that he is almost certain that alien life exists in other parts of the universe and uses a mathematical basis for his assumptions. "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like." He believes alien life not only certainly exists on planets but perhaps even in other places, like within stars or even floating in outer space. He also warns that a few of these species might be intelligent and threaten Earth. Contact with such species might be devastating for humanity. "If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," he said. He advocated that, rather than try to establish contact, humans should try to avoid contact with alien life forms.

Illness


Stephen Hawking is severely disabled by a motor neurone disease
Motor neurone disease
The motor neurone diseases are a group of neurological disorders that selectively affect motor neurones, the cells that control voluntary muscle activity including speaking, walking, breathing, swallowing and general movement of the body. They are generally progressive in nature, and can cause...

 known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a form of motor neuron disease caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input...

 (ALS), sometimes known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Hawking's illness is markedly different from typical ALS because if confirmed Hawking's case would make for the most protracted case ever documented. A survival for more than ten years after diagnosis is uncommon for ALS; the longest documented durations, other than Hawking's, are 32 and 39 years and these cases were termed benign because of the lack of the typical progressive course.

When he was young, he enjoyed riding horses. At Oxford, he coxed
Coxswain (rowing)
In a crew, the coxswain is the member who sits in the stern facing the bow, steers the boat, and coordinates the power and rhythm of the rowers.- Role :The role of a coxswain within a crew is to:...

 a rowing team, which, he stated, helped relieve his immense boredom at the university. Symptoms of the disorder first appeared while he was enrolled at University of Cambridge; he lost his balance and fell down a flight of stairs, hitting his head. Worried that he would lose his genius, he took the Mensa
Mensa International
Mensa is the largest and oldest high-IQ society in the world. It is a non-profit organization open to people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on a standardised, supervised IQ or other approved intelligence test...

 test to verify that his intellectual abilities were intact. The diagnosis of motor neurone disease came when Hawking was 21, shortly before his first marriage, and doctors said he would not survive more than two or three years. Hawking gradually lost the use of his arms, legs, and voice, and as of 2009 has been almost completely paralysed.

During a visit to the research centre CERN
CERN
The European Organization for Nuclear Research , known as CERN , is an international organization whose purpose is to operate the world's largest particle physics laboratory, which is situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border...

 in Geneva in 1985, Hawking contracted pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

, which in his condition was life-threatening as it further restricted his already limited respiratory capacity. He had an emergency tracheotomy
Tracheotomy
Among the oldest described surgical procedures, tracheotomy consists of making an incision on the anterior aspect of the neck and opening a direct airway through an incision in the trachea...

, and as a result lost what remained of his ability to speak. He has since used an electronic voice synthesiser to communicate.

The DECtalk
DECtalk
DECtalk was a speech synthesizer and text-to-speech technology developed by Digital Equipment Corporation in the early 1980s, based largely on the work of Dennis Klatt at MIT, whose source-filter algorithm was variously known as KlattTalk or MITalk....

 DTC01 voice synthesiser he uses, which has an American English accent, is no longer being produced. Asked why he has still kept it after so many years, Hawking mentioned that he has not heard a voice he likes better and that he identifies with it. Hawking is said to be looking for a replacement since, aside from being obsolete, the synthesiser is both large and fragile by current standards. As of mid 2009, he was said to be using NeoSpeech's VoiceText speech synthesiser.

In Hawking's many media appearances, he appears to speak fluently through his synthesiser, but in reality, it is a tedious drawn-out process. Hawking's setup uses a predictive text
Predictive text
Predictive text is an input technology used where one key or button represents many letters, such as on mobile phones and in accessibility technologies. Each key press results in a prediction rather than repeatedly sequencing through the same group of "letters" it represents, in the same,...

 entry system, which requires only the first few characters in order to auto-complete the word, but as he is only able to use his cheek for data entry, constructing complete sentences takes time. His speeches are prepared in advance, but having a live conversation with him provides insight as to the complexity and work involved. During a TED Conference
TED (conference)
TED is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate "ideas worth spreading"....

 talk, it took him seven minutes to answer a question.

He describes himself as lucky despite his disease. Its slow progression has allowed him time to make influential discoveries and has not hindered him from having, in his own words, "a very attractive family." When his wife, Jane, was asked why she decided to marry a man with a three-year life expectancy, she responded, "Those were the days of atomic gloom and doom, so we all had a rather short life expectancy."
On 20 April 2009, Cambridge University released a statement saying that Hawking was "very ill" with a chest infection, and was admitted to Addenbrooke's Hospital
Addenbrooke's Hospital
Addenbrooke's Hospital is an internationally renowned teaching hospital in Cambridge, England, with strong links to the University of Cambridge. It was founded in 1766 on Trumpington Street with £4,500 from the will of Dr John Addenbrooke, a fellow of St Catharine's College...

. The following day, it was reported that his new condition is "comfortable" and he should make a full recovery from the infection.

As popular science advocate



Hawking has played himself on numerous television shows and has been portrayed in many more. He has played himself on a Red Dwarf
Red Dwarf
Red Dwarf is a British comedy franchise which primarily comprises eight series of a television science fiction sitcom that aired on BBC Two between 1988 and 1999 and Dave from 2009–present. It gained cult following. It was created by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, who also wrote the first six series...

anniversary special, played a hologram of himself on the episode "Descent" of Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry as part of the Star Trek franchise. Roddenberry, Rick Berman, and Michael Piller served as executive producers at different times throughout the production...

, appeared in a skit on Late Night with Conan O'Brien
Late Night with Conan O'Brien
Late Night with Conan O'Brien is an American late-night talk show hosted by Conan O'Brien that aired 2,725 episodes on NBC between 1993 and 2009. The show featured varied comedic material, celebrity interviews, and musical and comedy performances. Late Night aired weeknights at 12:37 am...

, and appeared on the Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

 special Alien Planet. He has also played himself in several episodes of The Simpsons
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

and Futurama
Futurama
Futurama is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures of a late 20th-century New York City pizza delivery boy, Philip J...

, and has had an action figure
Action figure
An action figure is a posable character figurine, made of plastic or other materials, and often based upon characters from a film, comic book, video game, or television program. These action figures are usually marketed towards boys and male collectors...

 made of his Simpsons likeness. In 2008, Hawking was the subject of and featured in the documentary series Stephen Hawking, Master of the Universe for Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

. In September 2008, Hawking presided over the unveiling of the 'Chronophage' (time-eating) Corpus Clock
Corpus Clock
The Corpus Clock is a large sculptural clock at street level on the outside of the Taylor Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, at the junction of Bene't Street and Trumpington Street, looking out over King's Parade. It was conceived and funded by John C...

 at Corpus Christi College Cambridge. His actual synthesiser voice was used on parts of the Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd were an English rock band that achieved worldwide success with their progressive and psychedelic rock music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially...

 song "Keep Talking
Keep Talking
"Keep Talking" is a song from Pink Floyd's 1994 album, The Division Bell. Written by David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Polly Samson, it was sung by Gilmour and also features samples of Stephen Hawking's electronic voice, taken from a BT television advertisement...

" from the 1994 album The Division Bell
The Division Bell
The Division Bell is the fourteenth and last studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd. It was released in the United Kingdom by EMI Records on 28 March 1994, and in the United States by Columbia Records on 4 April....

, as well as on Turbonegro
Turbonegro
Turbonegro is a Norwegian punk rock band that was initially active from 1989 to 1998, and later reformed in 2002. Their style combines glam rock, punk rock and hard rock into a style the band describes as "deathpunk"....

's "Intro: The Party Zone" on their 2005 album Party Animals, Wolfsheim
Wolfsheim (band)
Wolfsheim was a synthpop band from Hamburg, Germany that consisted of Markus Reinhardt and Peter Heppner. Although never officially disbanded, Wolfsheim has been inactive since 2005 due to a dispute between the two members, which even led to trials in 2007 and 2008 that forbade either member to...

's "Kein Zurück (Oliver Pinelli Mix)". When he was portrayed on episodes of Family Guy
Family Guy
Family Guy is an American animated television series created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a dysfunctional family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their children Meg, Chris, and Stewie; and their anthropomorphic pet dog Brian...

, the voice was actually done by a speech synthesiser on a Macintosh
Macintosh
The Macintosh , or Mac, is a series of several lines of personal computers designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. The first Macintosh was introduced by Apple's then-chairman Steve Jobs on January 24, 1984; it was the first commercially successful personal computer to feature a mouse and a...

 computer, according to DVD commentary. He was portrayed in an episode of the Dilbert
Dilbert
Dilbert is an American comic strip written and drawn by Scott Adams. First published on April 16, 1989, Dilbert is known for its satirical office humor about a white-collar, micromanaged office featuring the engineer Dilbert as the title character...

cartoon. In The Fairly OddParents
The Fairly OddParents
The Fairly OddParents is an American-Canadian animated television series created by Butch Hartman about the adventures of Timmy Turner, who is granted fairy godparents named Cosmo and Wanda. The series started out as cartoon segments that ran from September 4, 1998 to March 23, 2001 on Oh Yeah!...

, it is mentioned that he was Denzel Crocker's college roommate. As well as being fictionalised as nerdcore hip hop
Nerdcore hip hop
Nerdcore hip hop, is a sub-genre of hip hop music characterized by themes and subject matter considered to be of general interest to nerds, though it can appeal to others as well. Self-described nerdcore musician MC Frontalot has the earliest known recorded use of the term in the 2000 song...

 artist MC Hawking
MC Hawking
Ken Lawrence is a nerdcore hip hop artist who purports to be theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking rapping under the name MC Hawking.MC Hawking gained some popularity on the Internet in the early 2000s...

, he was impersonated in duet with Richard Cheese
Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine
Mark Jonathan Davis , known by his stage name Richard Cheese, is an American musician and comedian. He was born in New York...

 on a cover of "The Girl Is Mine
The Girl Is Mine
"The Girl Is Mine" is a song by Michael Jackson featuring Paul McCartney. It is the first single from Jackson's sixth solo album, Thriller. It is one of the three songs that Jackson and McCartney recorded together. McCartney is the only featured guest on the album. The track was written and...

". He was also portrayed in the movie Superhero Movie
Superhero Movie
Superhero Movie is a 2008 American spoof film written and directed by Craig Mazin, produced by David Zucker and Robert K. Weiss, and starring Drake Bell, Sara Paxton, Christopher McDonald, and Leslie Nielsen...

by Robert Joy. In the TV series Dark Angel
Dark Angel (TV series)
Dark Angel is an American biopunk/cyberpunk science fiction television series created by James Cameron and Charles H. Eglee. The show premiered in the United States on the Fox network on October 3, 2000, and was canceled after two seasons...

 Logan's technology savvy colleague Sebastian is characterised with many similarities to the actual physicist.

Acclaim


On 19 December 2007, a statue of Hawking by renowned late artist Ian Walters
Ian Walters
Ian Homer Walters was an English sculptor.Born in Solihull, Walters was educated at Yardley Grammar school and under William Bloye at the Birmingham School of Art...

 was unveiled at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, University of Cambridge. In May 2008, the statue of Hawking was unveiled at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is a tertiary education and research institute in Muizenberg, South Africa, established in September 2003...

 in Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

. The Stephen W. Hawking Science Museum in San Salvador
San Salvador
The city of San Salvador the capital and largest city of El Salvador, which has been designated a Gamma World City. Its complete name is La Ciudad de Gran San Salvador...

, El Salvador is named in honour of Stephen Hawking, citing his scientific distinction and perseverance in dealing with adversity. Stephen Hawking Building in Cambridge opened on 17 April 2007. The building belongs to Gonville and Caius College
Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
Gonville and Caius College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The college is often referred to simply as "Caius" , after its second founder, John Keys, who fashionably latinised the spelling of his name after studying in Italy.- Outline :Gonville and...

 and is used as an undergraduate accommodation and conference facility.

Distinctions


Hawking's belief that the lay person should have access to his work led him to write a series of popular science books in addition to his academic work. The first of these, A Brief History of Time
A Brief History of Time
A Brief History of Time is a popular science book written by renown physicist Stephen Hawking and first published by the Bantam Dell Publishing Group in 1988. It became a best-seller and has sold more than 10 million copies...

, was published on 1 April 1988 by Hawking, his family and friends, and some leading physicists. It surprisingly became a best-seller and was followed by The Universe in a Nutshell
The Universe in a Nutshell
The Universe in a Nutshell is one of Stephen Hawking's books on theoretical physics. It explains to a general audience various matters relating to the Lucasian professor's work, such as Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem and P-branes . It tells the history and principles of modern physics...

(2001). Both books have remained highly popular all over the world. A collection of essays titled Black Holes and Baby Universes
Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays
Black Holes and The Baby Universes and other Essays This book is mainly about the makeup of black holes and how they intertwine with "baby universes". Is a popular science book by British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking...

(1993) was also popular. His book, A Briefer History of Time
A Briefer History of Time (Hawking and Mlodinow book)
A Briefer History of Time is a popular-science book published in 2005 from the English physicist Stephen Hawking and the American physicist Leonard Mlodinow. It is an update and rewrite of Hawking's 1988 A Brief History of Time...

(2005), co-written by Leonard Mlodinow
Leonard Mlodinow
Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist and author.Mlodinow was born in Chicago, Illinois, of parents who were both Holocaust survivors. His father, who spent more than a year in the Buchenwald concentration camp, had been a leader in the Jewish resistance under Nazi rule in his hometown of Częstochowa,...

, aims to update his earlier works and make them accessible to an even wider audience. He and his daughter, Lucy Hawking
Lucy Hawking
Lucy Hawking is an English journalist and novelist. She is the daughter of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and she lives in London.-Education and career:...

, have recently published a children's book focusing on science that has been described to be "like Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

, but without the magic." This book is called George's Secret Key to the Universe
George's Secret Key to the Universe
George's Secret Key to the Universe is a 2007 children's book written by Stephen and Lucy Hawking.Its main characters are George, Eric, Annie, Dr. G. Reeper , and Cosmos, the world's most powerful computer. Cosmos can draw windows allowing people to look into outer space, as well as doors which act...

and includes information on Hawking radiation
Hawking radiation
Hawking radiation is a thermal radiation with a black body spectrum predicted to be emitted by black holes due to quantum effects. It is named after the physicist Stephen Hawking, who provided a theoretical argument for its existence in 1974, and sometimes also after the physicist Jacob Bekenstein...

.

Hawking is also known for his wit; he is famous for his oft-made statement, "When I hear of Schrödinger's cat
Schrödinger's cat
Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment, usually described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat that might be...

, I reach for my pistol." This was a deliberately ironic paraphrase of "Whenever I hear the word culture... I release the safety-catch of my Browning
Browning Automatic Rifle
The Browning Automatic Rifle was a family of United States automatic rifles and light machine guns used by the United States and numerous other countries during the 20th century. The primary variant of the BAR series was the M1918, chambered for the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge and designed...

", from the play Schlageter (Act 1, Scene 1) by German playwright and Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 Poet Laureate Hanns Johst
Hanns Johst
Hanns Johst was a German playwright and Nazi Poet Laureate.Hanns Johst was born in Seehausen as the son of an elementary school teacher. He grew up in Oschatz and Leipzig. As a juvenile he planned to become a missionary. When he was 17 years old he worked as an auxiliary in a Bethel Institution...

. His wit has both entertained the non-specialist public and helped them to understand complex questions. Asked in October 2005 on the British daytime chat show Richard & Judy
Richard & Judy
Richard & Judy was a British magazine/chat show which was presented by married couple Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. It originally aired on Channel 4 from 2001 to 2008 but later moved to digital channel Watch in October 2008. It featured the world's most famous stars, along with their Book Club...

, to explain his assertion that the question "What came before the Big Bang
Big Bang
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the young Universe to cool and resulted in...

?" was meaningless, he compared it to asking "What lies north of the North Pole?"

Hawking supports the children's charity SOS Children's Villages UK
SOS Children's Villages UK
SOS Children's Villages UK is an autonomous charity based in Cambridge in the United Kingdom and part of the international group SOS Children's Villages, the largest international charity group dedicated to the care of orphaned and abandoned children...

.

Awards and honours


  • 1975 Eddington Medal
    Eddington Medal
    The Eddington Medal, named after Sir Arthur Eddington, is awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society nominally once every two years for investigations of outstanding merit in theoretical astrophysics.- Recipients :* 1953 Georges Lemaître...

  • 1976 Hughes Medal
    Hughes Medal
    The Hughes Medal is awarded by the Royal Society of London "in recognition of an original discovery in the physical sciences, particularly electricity and magnetism or their applications". Named after David E. Hughes, the medal is awarded with a gift of £1000. The medal was first awarded in 1902 to...

     of the Royal Society
    Royal Society
    The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

  • 1979 Albert Einstein Medal
    Albert Einstein Medal
    The Albert Einstein Medal is an award presented by the Albert Einstein Society in Bern. First given in 1979, the award is presented to people who have "rendered outstanding services" in connection with Albert Einstein each year.- Recipients :...

  • 1981 Franklin Medal
    Franklin Medal
    The Franklin Medal was a science and engineering award presented by the Franklin Institute, of Philadelphia, PA, USA.-Laureates:*1915 - Thomas Alva Edison *1915 - Heike Kamerlingh Onnes *1916 - John J...

  • 1982 Order of the British Empire
    Order of the British Empire
    The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

     (Commander)
  • 1985 Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
    -History:In the early years, more than one medal was often awarded in a year, but by 1833 only one medal was being awarded per year. This caused a problem when Neptune was discovered in 1846, because many felt an award should jointly be made to John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier...

  • 1986 Member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences
    Pontifical Academy of Sciences
    The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is a scientific academy of the Vatican, founded in 1936 by Pope Pius XI. It is placed under the protection of the reigning Supreme Pontiff. Its aim is to promote the progress of the mathematical, physical and natural sciences and the study of related...

  • 1988 Wolf Prize in Physics
    Wolf Prize in Physics
    The Wolf Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Wolf Foundation in Israel. It is one of the six Wolf Prizes established by the Foundation and awarded since 1978; the others are in Agriculture, Chemistry, Mathematics, Medicine and Arts. The Prize is often considered the most prestigious...

  • 1989 Prince of Asturias Awards
    Prince of Asturias Awards
    The Prince of Asturias Awards are a series of annual prizes awarded in Spain by the Prince of Asturias Foundation to individuals, entities or organizations from around the world who make notable achievements in the sciences, humanities, and public affairs....

     in Concord
  • 1989 Companion of Honour
    Order of the Companions of Honour
    The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

  • 1999 Julius Edgar Lilienfeld
    Julius Edgar Lilienfeld
    Julius Edgar Lilienfeld was an Austro-Hungarian physicist. He was born in Lemberg in Austria-Hungary , moved to the United States in the early 1920s, and became American citizen in 1934...

     Prize of the American Physical Society
    American Physical Society
    The American Physical Society is the world's second largest organization of physicists, behind the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft. The Society publishes more than a dozen scientific journals, including the world renowned Physical Review and Physical Review Letters, and organizes more than 20...

  • 2003 Michelson Morley Award of Case Western Reserve University
    Case Western Reserve University
    Case Western Reserve University is a private research university located in Cleveland, Ohio, USA...

  • 2006 Copley Medal
    Copley Medal
    The Copley Medal is an award given by the Royal Society of London for "outstanding achievements in research in any branch of science, and alternates between the physical sciences and the biological sciences"...

     of the Royal Society
    Royal Society
    The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

  • 2008 Fonseca Prize of the University of Santiago de Compostela
    University of Santiago de Compostela
    The Royal University of Santiago de Compostela - USC is a public university located in the city of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain. A second campus is located in Lugo, Galicia....

  • 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom
    Presidential Medal of Freedom
    The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

    , the highest civilian honour in the United States


Personal life


Hawking revealed that he did not see much point in obtaining a doctorate if he were to die soon. Hawking later said that the real turning point was his 1965 marriage to Jane Wilde, a language student. After gaining his PhD at Trinity Hall
Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Trinity Hall is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. It is the fifth-oldest college of the university, having been founded in 1350 by William Bateman, Bishop of Norwich.- Foundation :...

, he became first a Research Fellow, and later on a Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College
Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge
Gonville and Caius College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The college is often referred to simply as "Caius" , after its second founder, John Keys, who fashionably latinised the spelling of his name after studying in Italy.- Outline :Gonville and...

.

Jane Hawking (née Wilde), Hawking's first wife, cared for him until 1991 when the couple separated, reportedly because of the pressures of fame and his increasing disability. They had three children: Robert, Lucy
Lucy Hawking
Lucy Hawking is an English journalist and novelist. She is the daughter of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and she lives in London.-Education and career:...

, and Timothy. Hawking then married his nurse, Elaine Mason (who was previously married to David Mason, the designer of the first version of Hawking's talking computer), in 1995. In October 2006, Hawking filed for divorce from his second wife amid claims by former nurses that she had abused him.

In 1999, Jane Hawking published a memoir, Music to Move the Stars, detailing the marriage and his breakdown; in 2010 she published a revised version, Travelling to Infinity, My Life with Stephen. Hawking's daughter, Lucy
Lucy Hawking
Lucy Hawking is an English journalist and novelist. She is the daughter of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and she lives in London.-Education and career:...

, is a novelist. Their oldest son, Robert, emigrated to the United States, married, and has a son. After a period of estrangement, Hawking and his first family were reconciled in 2007.

His view on how to live life is to "seek the greatest value of our action".

Hawking was asked about his IQ in a 2004 newspaper interview, and replied, "I have no idea. People who boast about their I.Q. are losers." Yet when asked "Are you saying you are not a genius?", Hawking replied "I hope I'm near the upper end of the range."

Religious views


In his early work, Hawking spoke of "God" in a metaphorical sense, such as in A Brief History of Time
A Brief History of Time
A Brief History of Time is a popular science book written by renown physicist Stephen Hawking and first published by the Bantam Dell Publishing Group in 1988. It became a best-seller and has sold more than 10 million copies...

: "If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we should know the mind of God." In the same book he suggested the existence of God was unnecessary to explain the origin of the universe. His 2010 book The Grand Design
The Grand Design (book)
The Grand Design is a popular-science book written by physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow and published by Bantam Books in 2010. It argues that invoking God is not necessary to explain the origins of the universe, and that the Big Bang is a consequence of the laws of physics alone...

and interviews with the Telegraph and the Channel 4 documentary Genius of Britain, clarify that he does "not believe in a personal God". Hawking writes, "The question is: is the way the universe began chosen by God for reasons we can't understand, or was it determined by a law of science? I believe the second." He adds, "Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing."

His ex-wife, Jane, said during their divorce proceedings that he was an atheist. Hawking has stated that he is "not religious in the normal sense" and he believes that "the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws." In an interview published in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 newspaper, Hawking regarded the concept of Heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

 as a myth, stating that there is "no heaven or afterlife" and that such a notion was a "fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

Hawking contrasted religion and science in 2010, saying: "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."

Technical

  • Singularities in Collapsing Stars and Expanding Universes with Dennis William Sciama
    Dennis William Sciama
    Dennis William Siahou Sciama FRS was a British physicist who, through his own work and that of his students, played a major role in developing British physics after the Second World War. He is considered as one of the fathers of modern cosmology.-Life:Sciama was born in Manchester, England...

    , 1969 Comments on Astrophysics and Space Physics Vol 1 No.1
  • The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time with George Ellis
    George Ellis
    George Francis Rayner Ellis, FRS, is the Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Complex Systems in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town in South Africa...

    , 1973, ISBN 0-521-09906-4
  • The Nature of Space and Time with Roger Penrose
    Roger Penrose
    Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS is an English mathematical physicist and Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College...

    , foreword by Michael Atiyah
    Michael Atiyah
    Sir Michael Francis Atiyah, OM, FRS, FRSE is a British mathematician working in geometry.Atiyah grew up in Sudan and Egypt but spent most of his academic life in the United Kingdom at Oxford and Cambridge, and in the United States at the Institute for Advanced Study...

    , New Jersey: Princeton University Press
    Princeton University Press
    -Further reading:* "". Artforum International, 2005.-External links:* * * * *...

    , 1996, ISBN 0-691-05084-8
  • The Large, the Small, and the Human Mind, (with Abner Shimony, Nancy Cartwright, and Roger Penrose), Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

    , 1997, ISBN 0-521-56330-5 (hardback), ISBN 0-521-65538-2 (paperback), Canto edition: ISBN 0-521-78572-3
  • Information Loss in Black Holes, Cambridge University Press, 2005
  • God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History
    God Created the Integers
    God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History is an anthology, edited by Stephen Hawking, of "excerpts from thirty-one of the most important works in the history of mathematics." The title of the book is a reference to a quotation attributed to mathematician Leopold...

    , Running Press
    Running Press
    The Running Press is a member of the Perseus Books Group, the imprint is the publisher of fiction, non-fiction, cooking, humor, and kit books. The publisher's offices are located in Philadelphia, but many of the corporate functions take place in New York City....

    , 2005 ISBN 0762419229

Popular

  • A Brief History of Time
    A Brief History of Time
    A Brief History of Time is a popular science book written by renown physicist Stephen Hawking and first published by the Bantam Dell Publishing Group in 1988. It became a best-seller and has sold more than 10 million copies...

    , (Bantam Press
    Bantam Press
    Bantam Press is an imprint of Transworld Publishers which is a British publishing division of Random House.It is based on Uxbridge Road in Ealing near Ealing Broadway station, the same address as Transworld....

     1988) ISBN 055305340X
  • Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays
    Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays
    Black Holes and The Baby Universes and other Essays This book is mainly about the makeup of black holes and how they intertwine with "baby universes". Is a popular science book by British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking...

    , (Bantam Books 1993) ISBN 0553374117
  • The Universe in a Nutshell
    The Universe in a Nutshell
    The Universe in a Nutshell is one of Stephen Hawking's books on theoretical physics. It explains to a general audience various matters relating to the Lucasian professor's work, such as Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem and P-branes . It tells the history and principles of modern physics...

    , (Bantam Press 2001) ISBN 055380202X
  • On The Shoulders of Giants. The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy, (Running Press 2002) ISBN 076241698X
  • A Briefer History of Time
    A Briefer History of Time (Hawking and Mlodinow book)
    A Briefer History of Time is a popular-science book published in 2005 from the English physicist Stephen Hawking and the American physicist Leonard Mlodinow. It is an update and rewrite of Hawking's 1988 A Brief History of Time...

    , coauthored with Leonard Mlodinow
    Leonard Mlodinow
    Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist and author.Mlodinow was born in Chicago, Illinois, of parents who were both Holocaust survivors. His father, who spent more than a year in the Buchenwald concentration camp, had been a leader in the Jewish resistance under Nazi rule in his hometown of Częstochowa,...

    , (Bantam Books 2005) ISBN 0553804367
  • The Grand Design
    The Grand Design (book)
    The Grand Design is a popular-science book written by physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow and published by Bantam Books in 2010. It argues that invoking God is not necessary to explain the origins of the universe, and that the Big Bang is a consequence of the laws of physics alone...

    , coauthored with Leonard Mlodinow
    Leonard Mlodinow
    Leonard Mlodinow is a physicist and author.Mlodinow was born in Chicago, Illinois, of parents who were both Holocaust survivors. His father, who spent more than a year in the Buchenwald concentration camp, had been a leader in the Jewish resistance under Nazi rule in his hometown of Częstochowa,...

    , (Bantam Press 2010) ISBN 0553805371


Footnote: On Hawking's website, he denounces the unauthorised publication of The Theory of Everything
The Theory of Everything
The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe is an unauthorized 2002 book of some collected works by Stephen Hawking. It was assembled from seven lectures on audiotape by Hawking originally released in 1994 under the title, Stephen W. Hawking's Life Works: The Cambridge Lectures...

and asks consumers to be aware that he was not involved in its creation.

Children's fiction


These are co-written with his daughter Lucy
Lucy Hawking
Lucy Hawking is an English journalist and novelist. She is the daughter of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and she lives in London.-Education and career:...

.
  • George's Secret Key to the Universe
    George's Secret Key to the Universe
    George's Secret Key to the Universe is a 2007 children's book written by Stephen and Lucy Hawking.Its main characters are George, Eric, Annie, Dr. G. Reeper , and Cosmos, the world's most powerful computer. Cosmos can draw windows allowing people to look into outer space, as well as doors which act...

    , (Random House
    Random House
    Random House, Inc. is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. It has been owned since 1998 by the German private media corporation Bertelsmann and has become the umbrella brand for Bertelsmann book publishing. Random House also has a movie production arm, Random House Films,...

    , 2007) ISBN 9780385612708
  • George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt
    George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt
    George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt is a 2009 children's book written by Stephen and Lucy Hawking. George and Annie, the middle-school cosmologists, return in this sequel to the 2007 story, George's Secret Key to the Universe.The book was followed by...

    , (Simon & Schuster
    Simon & Schuster
    Simon & Schuster, Inc., a division of CBS Corporation, is a publisher founded in New York City in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster. It is one of the four largest English-language publishers, alongside Random House, Penguin and HarperCollins...

    , 2009) ISBN 9781416986713

Films and series

  • A Brief History of Time
    A Brief History of Time (film)
    A Brief History of Time is a 1991 American documentary film about the physicist Stephen Hawking, directed by Errol Morris. Its title derives from Hawking's bestselling book of the same name, but whereas the book is an explanation of cosmology, the film is a biography of Hawking's life, featuring...

    (1991)
  • Stephen Hawking's Universe
    Stephen Hawking's Universe
    Stephen Hawking's Universe is an astronomical documentary from 1997 made for the Public Broadcasting Service featuring the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking...

    (1997)
  • Horizon: The Hawking Paradox (2005)
  • Masters of Science Fiction
    Masters of Science Fiction
    Masters of Science Fiction is an American television anthology series by the same creators as Masters of Horror. The show debuted on ABC on August 4, 2007 at 10PM for a run of four episodes...

    (2007)
  • Stephen Hawking: Master of the Universe (2008)
  • Into The Universe with Stephen Hawking
    Into The Universe with Stephen Hawking
    Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking is a 2010 science documentary television mini-series written by British physicist Stephen Hawking. The series was created for Discovery Channel by Darlow Smithson Productions and features computer generated imagery of the universe created by Red Vision...

    (2010)

A list of Hawking's publications through the year 2002 is available on his website.

See also


  • Basic concepts of quantum mechanics
    Basic concepts of quantum mechanics
    Quantum mechanics explains the behaviour of matter and energy on the scale of atoms and subatomic particles.Classical physics explains matter and energy at the macroscopic level of the scale familiar to human experience, including the behavior of astronomical bodies...

  • Many-worlds interpretation
    Many-worlds interpretation
    The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction, but denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse. Many-worlds implies that all possible alternative histories and futures are real, each representing an...

    , or flexiverse
  • Susskind–Hawking battle – see Black hole information paradox
    Black hole information paradox
    The black hole information paradox results from the combination of quantum mechanics and general relativity. It suggests that physical information could disappear in a black hole, allowing many physical states to evolve into the same state...



Further reading


A layman's guide to Stephen Hawking
  • Ferguson, Kitty (1991). Stephen Hawking: Quest For A Theory of Everything. Franklin Watts. ISBN 0-553-29895-X Highly influential in the field. A much cited centennial survey.
  • Pickover, Clifford
    Clifford A. Pickover
    Clifford A. Pickover is an American author, editor, and columnist in the fields of science, mathematics, and science fiction, and is employed at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, New York.- Biography :He received his Ph.D...

    , Archimedes to Hawking: Laws of Science and the Great Minds Behind Them, Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    , 2008, ISBN 978-0195336115


External links




Dated