Fun Facts - STEPHEN HAWKING

**Stephen William Hawking**,(born 8 January 1942) is a British theoretical physicist, and author. His key scientific works to date have included providing, with Roger Penrose, theorems regarding the occurrence of gravitational singularities in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes should emit radiation, which is today known as Hawking radiation (or sometimes as Bekenstein–Hawking radiation).

He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and in 2009 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009. Subsequently, he became research director at the university's Centre for Theoretical Cosmology.

Hawking has a motor neurone disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a condition that has progressed over the years. He is now almost completely paralysed and communicates through a speech generating device. He has been married twice and has three children. Hawking has achieved success with works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general; these include *A Brief History of Time*, which stayed on the British *Sunday Times* best-sellers list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.

- Stephen Hawking is one of the most famous living scientists. His computer-simulated voice is familiar on many television science programmes.
- Stephen Hawking (b.1942) is a British physicist who is famous for his ideas on space and time.
- Hawking was born in Oxford, England and studied at Cambridge University, where he is now a professor.
- Hawking suffers from the paralyzing nerve disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He cannot move any more than a few hand and face muscles, but he gets around very well in an electric wheelchair.
- Hawking cannot speak, but he communicates effectively with a computer-simulated voice.
- Hawking’s book A Brief History of Time (1988) outlines his ideas on space, time and the history of the Universe since the Big Bang. It was one of the best-selling science books of the 20th century.
- Einstein thought of and Hawking developed the idea of black holes. They are collapsed objects, such as stars, that have become invisible.
- Hawking’s contributions to the study of gravity are considered to be the most important since Einstein’s.
- More than anyone else, Hawking has developed the idea of black holes — points in space where gravity becomes so extreme that it even sucks in light.
- Hawking developed the idea of a singularity, which is an incredibly small point in a black hole where all physical laws break down.
- Hawking’s work provides a strong theoretical base for the idea that the Universe began with a Big Bang, starting with a singularity and exploding outwards.
- Hawking is trying to find a quantum theory of gravity to link in with the three other basic forces (electromagnetism and nuclear forces). The Big Bang theory assumes the Universe started with a singularity, a point of infinite mass.