Stephen W. Hawking
A Love for Science
Stephen William Hawking (1942-2018) was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge.
In 1963, Dr. Hawking was diagnosed with an early-onset slow-progressing form of motor neurone disease that gradually paralyzed him over the decades. After the loss of his speech, he communicated through a speech-generating device initially through use of a handheld switch, and eventually by using a single cheek muscle.
Dr. Hawking obtained a degree in physics from Oxford, and in 1966 he obtained his PhD in applied mathematics and theoretical physics from Cambridge, specializing in general relativity and cosmology. His book A Brief History of Time appeared on the Sunday Times bestseller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.
In 2009, Dr. Hawking was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. At the awards ceremony, President Obama said:
|Persistent in his pursuit of knowledge, Stephen Hawking has unlocked new pathways of discovery and inspired people around the world. He has dedicated his life to exploring the fundamental laws that govern the universe, and he has contributed to some of the greatest scientific discoveries of our time. His work has stirred the imagination of experts and lay persons alike. Living with a disability and possessing an uncommon ease of spirit, Stephen Hawking’s attitude and achievements inspire hope, intellectual curiosity, and respect for the tremendous power of science.|
We too are inspired both by Dr. Hawking's brilliance and by his perseverance in rising above his physical challenges!