Steven Hawking

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Steven Hawking

Steven William Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford,

England. He was always interested in science and how things worked.

From about the age of 20, he was awarded a first class honors degree in

Natural Sciences. After receiving his degree, Steven went to

Cambridge, to do research on Cosmology. After receiving his Ph.D., he

left the Institute of Astronomy and since then he has held the post of

Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. In the late 1960's, Steven proved

that if general relativity is true and the Universe is expanding, a

irregularity must have occurred at the birth of the Universe. In 1974,

he first recognized a truly remarkable property of black holes, objects

from which nothing was supposed to be able to escape. By taking into

account quantum mechanics, he was able to show that black holes can

radiate energy as particles are created in their vicinity. Dr. Hawking

has also worked on the basic laws that govern the universe. With

Rodger Penrose, he showed that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity

implied space and time would have had a beginning in the "Big Bang",

and an end in black holes. These results indicated it was necessary to

unify General Relativity with Quantum Theory, the other great

scientific development of the first half of the 20th century. One

consequence of such a unification that he discovered was that black

holes should not be completely black, but it should emit radiation and

eventually evaporate and disappear. Another speculation is that the

universe has no edge or boundary in imaginary time. This would imply

that the way the universe began was completely determined by the laws

of science. While studying at Oxford, Steven noticed that he was

becoming rather clumsy during his first year. When he returned home

one Christmas 1962, his mother persuaded him to go to the doctor. In

1963, he was diagnosed with ALS (Ameliotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or

best known as the lou Gehrig's disease).This disease is progressive and

slowly affects the nerves supplying all the muscles in the body.

Dr. Hawking has several books, but his most prestigious feat may be "a

Brief History of Time", which was published in 1988. When asked

recently about his disability and other questions surrounding it he

replied: "People are fascinated by the contrast between my very

limited physical powers, and the vast nature of the universe I deal

with. I'm the archetype of a disabled genius, or should I say a

physically challenged genius, to be politically correct.

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