Saturday, April 07, 2007

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking, an extraordinary man of rare courage and determination, was born on 8 January, 1942, at Oxford in Britain. Stephen Hawking received his education at St. Albans School, near London. Hawking then went to University College, Oxford to take a first class Honours degree in Natural Science. Thereafter, he did research in Cosmology at Cambridge. After getting his Ph.D. he took up a research fellowship and then became a professor at Gonville and Caius College. In 1973 he took up a position in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. Since 1979 he held the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. While working at Cambridge he observed that the co-ordination of his limbs was fast decreasing and tests revealed he had motor neuron disease. It was a disease advancing in stages without any cure. But Hawking did not lose all hope. He made up his mind that he would make a lasting contribution in the field of science till the end of his life. Besides working on the basic laws which govern the universe, his joint research with Roger Peurose on the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe, has linked Einstein’s Theory of Relativity with the Quantum Theory. It has proved that the universe came into being on a scientific basis. His paper “General Relativity: An Einstein Centenary Survey,” with W. Israel is among his best works. Professor Hawking’s book The Universe in a Nutshell won the Aventis Book Prize — one of Britain’s most prestigious non-fiction book prizes in 2002. Professor Hawking has been bestowed with 12 Honorary degrees. He was also honoured with the Commander of the British Empire in 1982 and made a Companion of Honour in 1989. Professor Stephen Hawking is to be admired for his invaluable contribution to the world of science and also for the courage he has displayed in refusing to give in to a life-threatening disease. It is truly a stupendous example of the triumph of the human mind.

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