Stephen Hawkings mother was one of the first students in Oxford University.
Dinner was eaten in silence.
The family car was London taxi.
Hawkings were making fireworks in the greenhouse.
At one point during his high school years, he was third from the bottom of his class.
Stephen Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England.The eldest of Frank and Isobel Hawking’s four children, Stephen William Hawking was born on the 300th anniversary of the death of Galileo—long a source of pride for the noted physicist. At an early age, Hawking showed a passion for science and the sky. His father, Frank Hawking, another Oxford graduate, was a respected medical researcher with a specialty in tropical diseases. Early in his academic life, Hawking, while recognized as bright, was not an exceptional student. At the age of 16, Hawking, along with several friends, constructed a computer out of recycled parts for solving rudimentary mathematical equations. He loved to dance, and also took an interest in rowing, becoming one of the Oxford rowing team’s coxswain.
By his own account, Hawking didn’t put much time into his studies. He would later calculate that he averaged about an hour a day focusing on school. In 1962, he graduated with honors, and went on to attend the University of Cambridge for a Ph.D. in cosmology. Physical control over his body diminished (he’d be forced to use a wheelchair by 1969), the effects of his disease started to slow down. In 1974, Hawking’s research turned him into a celebrity within the scientific world when he showed that black holes aren’t the information vacuums that scientists had thought they were.
He was named a fellow of the Royal Society at the age of 32, and later earned the prestigious Albert Einstein Award. In 1975 he journeyed to Rome, where he was honored with the Pius XI Gold Medal for Science from Pope Paul VI.
Hawking is scheduled to fly to the edge of space as one of Sir Richard Branson’s pioneer space tourists.
In September 2010, Hawking spoke against the idea that God could have created the universe in his book The Grand Design. Hawking previously argued that belief in a creator could be compatible with modern scientific theories. His new work, however, concludes that the Big Bang was the inevitable consequence of the laws of physics and nothing more. “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” Hawking says. “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”
Hawking made news in 2012 for two very different projects. It was revealed in early April that he had participated in a 2011 trial of a new headband-styled device called the iBrain.
The device is designed to “read” the wearer’s thoughts by picking up “waves of electrical brain signals,” which are then interpreted by a special algorithm, according to an article in The New York Times. This device could be a revolutionary aid to Hawking and others with ALS.
Also around this time, Hawking showed off his humorous side on American television. He made a guest appearance on The Big Bang Theory, a popular comedy about a group of young, geeky scientists.