Stephen Hawking

Born: 8 January 1942

Occupation: Physicist

Challenges overcome: Motor Neurone Disease

Successes, Achievements & Awards:

In 1963, Stephen Hawking contracted Motor Neurone Disease whilst at Cambridge and was given two years to live yet he went on to become a brilliant researcher and Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College. Stephen Hawking has worked on the basic laws which govern the universe.  With Roger Penrose he showed that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity implied space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes. These results indicated that it was necessary to unify General Relativity with Quantum Theory, the other great Scientific development of the first half of the 20th Century. His many publications include The Large Scale Structure of Spacetime with G F R Ellis, General Relativity, An Einstein Centenary Survey, with W Israel, and 300 Years of Gravity, with W Israel. Stephen Hawking has a number of popular books published; his best seller A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, The Universe in a Nutshell, and most recently in  2010, The Grand Design. 

Professor Stephen Hawking has twelve honorary degrees. He was awarded the CBE in 1982, and was made a Companion of Honour in 1989. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. Stephen Hawking  is the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes including:

  • First Class Honours Degree in Natural Science
  • Cosmology PHD
  • Research Fellow
  • Professorial Fellow
  • Lucasian Professor of Mathematics
  • Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology

Challenges Overcome

Stephen was diagnosed with ALS, a form of Motor Neurone Disease, shortly after his 21st birthday. In spite of being wheelchair bound and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication Stephen Hawking continues to combine family life (he has three children and three grandchildren), and his research into theoretical physics together with an extensive programme of travel and public lectures. He still hopes to make it into space one day.

Disability Definitions

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s or Motor Neuron Disease, is a progressive, neuromuscular disease that attacks nerve cells and pathways in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons, among the largest of all nerve cells, reach the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to muscles throughout the body. When these motor neurons die, the brain can no longer start and control muscle movement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amyotrophic_lateral_sclerosis

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Information sources:

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Stephen Hawking. (2015, June 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:45, June 10, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Stephen_Hawking&oldid=665873756

Image: Wikicommons

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