Stephen Hawking was an English cosmologist, theoretical physicists, and author. One of the world’s most popular scientists, Hawking has made many groundbreaking inventions in the world of science despite living more than half of his life with a progressive paralytic medical condition known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The physicist and author of A Brief History of Time died at his home in Cambridge on March 14 2018. ‘We will miss him forever’
Stephen Hawking Biography – How He Began
Stephen William Hawking was born on 8 January 1942 in Oxford, England. Hawking was born into a family of geniuses. His both parents (were whiz at their own fields and attended the prestigious University of Oxford. His father Frank was a medical researcher who later sat at the helm of the parasitology division at the National Institute for Medical Research while his mother Isobel majored in Philosophy, Politics and Economy.
Despite not having so much money, the Hawkings were able to enroll in the best schools thanks to their academic excellence which earned them scholarships. At elementary school, Hawking already began building things from scratch including fireworks, model boats and aeroplanes and even a computer which was made out of telephone switchboards and clock parts. Inspired by his math teacher, Hawking initially wanted to study math but changed his mind to physics and chemistry following pressure from his father who wanted him to study medicine emphasizing that there were no high-paying jobs for mathematicians.
Hawking at the age of 17 was offered a scholarship to study at the University of Oxford. Far younger than his colleagues, Hawking’s early years in school were quite boring as he found school work far too easy and dedicated less time to studies, however, his college days later became interesting beginning in his sophomore years when he became an active member of the school’s Boat Club. He graduated with a first-class BA (Hons.) degree in Natural Science and proceeded to Trinity Hall, Cambridge for a graduate study in cosmology.
Diagnosis With ALS
While in his final years at Oxford, Hawking began to notice some changes in his body which included slurred speech and clumsiness, on some occasions, he would even trip and fall but never really took it seriously nor told his parents. The signs worsened in his first year at Cambridge, his parents took immediate notice during a Christmas holiday and took him for medical examination. After series of tests, Hawking was diagnosed with a rare case of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease which in plain English means that the nerves controlling his muscles were gradually shutting down. A progressive case, Doctors at the time gave Hawking not more than 3 years to live.
Hawking who was 21 at the time of diagnosis was dating his graduate school sweetheart, Jane, who was a friend to one of his sisters. And while the news of the life-threatening disease made Hawking despondent, Jane’s devotion to stick by him regardless gave him enough courage to make the best out of whatever time he had left. A formerly indifferent Hawking devoted all his time to his studies. The duo got married in 1965, and a year later, Hawking received his doctorate from Cambridge.
Though the disease has increased by the year and left Hawking completely paralyzed, the physicists has done well to manage it for over 5 decades as against the less than 3 years life expectancy the doctors gave him. Now almost completely paralyzed, Hawking lives out of a wheelchair and speaks via “Equalizer” a speech-generating device invented by Walter Woltosz, CEO of Words Plus.
The Groundbreaking Findings He Pioneered
Thanks to love, Hawking’s disease became a blessing in disguise as it molded him into one of the world’s notable scientists. His interest in cosmology was influenced by his fascination with stars and the universe in general. In the late 1960’s Hawking’s disease began to slow down availing him the opportunity for more activity. He then became a member of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge.
One of his first discoveries in the 1970’s later called Hawking Radiation was in the theoretical prediction of the ability of black holes to emit radiation, a notion that was previously invalidated by earlier scientists. He proved that matter, in the form of radiation, can escape the gravitational force of a collapsed star.
This made Hawking popular and a worldwide celebrated figure especially among fellow scientists. He was soon awarded the honorary Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge. His fame increased when his book “A Brief History of Time” published in 1988 and became a top seller. Most of his works and that of his wife on their relationship have been adapted into movies.
Hawking has since remained active in his findings about the universe, publishing books in relation with his findings including children fiction, he has also made appearances on TV like in 2012 when he appeared as himself in an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
Hawking whose earnings is estimated at $20 million is an outspoken atheist and has disputed the existence of any God. He is the co-launcher of “Breakthrough Initiatives” which focuses on the search for extraterrestrial life. Billionaire Yuri Milner invested $100 million in support of the initiative. In 2016 the billionaire invested the same amount in Hawking’s “Breakthrough Starshot” an effort to send nano spaceships from earth to the closest star at 20% of the speed of light. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is also part of the project.
Stephen Hawking Wife, Children, And Family Members
Hawking began dating his then sweetheart Jane Wilde, while he was still a graduate student at Cambridge. At this time, Jane was close friends with His sister thus fostering a closer relationship and bond between them. Also, their relationship started before he was diagnosed with the”motor neuron disease” with an estimated 3 years left to live. Even after finding out about his condition, Jane stood by Hawking even to the point of accepting to marry him. The pair got engaged in October 1964 and later tied the knot the following year on 14 July 1965.
Their marriage was blessed with three lovely kids, their first son Robert was born in May 1967, their first and only daughter, Lucy, was born in 1970, whereas their last child, Timothy, was born in April 1979.
Jane had always had a passion for singing among other interests but had to keep them on hold in order to focus on catering and caring for her family. With time, her kids grew up likewise Hawking’s celebrity status which also came with more money for the family and a little more free time for her as well. By December of 1977, singing in the church choir, Jane met an organist Jonathan Hellyer Jones. Though they developed feelings for each another, their relationship remained platonic because they didn’t want to destroy the family she had with the scientist. Hawking’s celebrity status also strained the relationship with his wife and family.
In the late 1980s, Hawking fell in love with one his caregivers “Elaine Mason” and thus broke the sudden news that he was leaving Jane to get married to Elaine.
Hawking and Elaine got married in September 1995 after his divorce from Jane was finalised; however, just after 11 years of marriage, they quietly separated in 2006. After this separation, he got closer to his ex-wife “Jane,” his children and grandchildren.
Is Stephen Hawking Dead Or Alive?
Professor Stephen Hawking, the renowned British physicist and author of A Brief History of Time, died at the age of 76, peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday morning, March 14, 2018.
Hawking who was diagnosed with ALS in 1963 with a prognosis of 3 years has managed to outlive the disease by proper management and improved health care.