Tribute to Stephen Hawking

 

 

Born Exactly 300 Years after Galileos passing away and Passed away Exactly on Einsteins Birthday.

Professor Stephen William Hawking whom we generally known as Stephen Hawking was born on 8th January 1942 in Oxford, England to a medical-researcher father and a philosophy-graduate mother. For the matter of fact, it is exactly 300 years after the death of Galileo. His family moved to St. Albans when he was eight , a town about 20 miles north of London, where his parents’ house was located. Stephen started his education from St. Albans School and then for higher studies he went to University College, Oxford in 1952 which is also his father’s old college too. Stephen wanted to study mathematics but at University College mathematics was not available, so he pursued physics instead.

After three years and not very much work, he was awarded a first-class honors degree in natural science.When Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with motor-neuron disease at the age of 21, it wasn’t clear that he would finish his PhD. Against all expectations, he lived on for 55 years more, becoming one of the world’s most celebrated scientists.


Career:                    

  • He began his research career in 1962, enrolling as a graduate student in a group at the University of Cambridge led by one of the fathers of modern cosmology, Dennis Sciama.
  • After gaining his PhD (1965) with his thesis titled ‘Properties of Expanding Universes’, he became a research fellow.
  • In 1966 he won the Adams Prize for his essay ‘Singularities and the Geometry of Space-time’.
  • In 1969, he worked as a fellow for Distinction in Science at Gonville & Caius college. Then Stephen moved to the Institute of Astronomy (1968), later moving back to DAMTP (1973), employed as a research assistant, and published his first academic book, The Large-Scale Structure of Space-Time, with George Ellis.
  • Stephen was elected a fellow of the Royal Society (1974) and Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at the California Institute of Technology (1974).
  • He became a Reader in Gravitational Physics at DAMTP (1975), progressing to Professor of Gravitational Physics (1977)
  • Hawking had been appointed to the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge, he held the post until he retired in 2009. It was first held by Isaac Barrow and then in 1669 by Isaac Newton.

Family:

In 1965, Stephen married Jane Wilde. After 25 years of marriage, and three children, the strain of Stephen’s illness and of sharing their home with a team of nurses became too much and they separated, divorcing in 1995. Jane wrote a book about their life together, Travelling to Infinity (Alma, 2008), and both she and Stephen were happy with the telling of their story in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything. After a second, briefer marriage, Stephen was supported by an entourage of assistants, as well as his family.

Professor Stephen Hawking has worked on the basic laws which govern the universe. When general theory of relativity was undergoing a renaissance, initiated in part by Roger Penrose at Birkbeck College, London, who had introduced new mathematical techniques, Stephen showed that generic gravitational collapse would lead to singularities infinities that signal the need for new physics (1970). These results indicated that it was necessary to unify general relativity with quantum theory.


He mainly focused on the studies of,

  • The Origins of the Universe
  • The High Likelihood of the Existence of Extraterrestrial Life
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Atheism
  • Gravitational and Spacetime Singularities
  • Black Hole Radiation
  • A Universe Without Spacetime Boundaries
  • Time

for his discoveries.


Some Discoveries:

  • Hawking developed the implications for black holes and the Big Bang in a series of papers collated in the 1973 monograph The Large-Scale Structure of Space-Time (Cambridge University Press), co-authored with George Ellis, a near-contemporary who had also been a student of Sciama.
  • Black holes should not be completely black, but rather should emit ‘Hawking’ radiation and eventually evaporate and disappear (1974).

Black-hole entropy was more than just an analogy. The implication was that the radiation would cause black holes to ‘evaporate’. This process would be slow to observe, except in ‘mini-holes’ the size of atoms and these are thought not to exist. Yet Hawking radiation and the related issue of whether information that falls into a black hole is lost or is somehow recoverable from the radiation was a profound issue, and one that still engenders controversy among theoretical physicists.

  • 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.
  • Recently Stephen has been working with colleagues on a possible resolution to the black hole information paradox, where debate centers around the conservation of information.

His many publications include the large-scale structure of spacetime and general relativity.

Publications:

  • A Brief History of Time (1988)
  • Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays (1994)
  • The Nature of Space and Time (1996)
  • The Universe in a Nutshell (2001)
  • The Future of Spacetime (2002)
  • On the Shoulders of Giants (2002)
  • The Theory of Everything (2002)
  • God Created Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs that Changed History (2005)
  • The Grand Design (2010)
  • The Dreams that Stuff Is Made Of (2011)
  • The Origin of (Almost) Everything (2016)

Achievements:

  • Professor Stephen Hawking has thirteen honorary degrees.
  • He achieved the awards of CBE (1982), Companion of Honor (1989) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009).
  • The Fundamental Physics prize (2013), Copley Medal (2006) and the Wolf Foundation prize (1988).
  • He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Turning Point of his life,

In 1963 Stephen was diagnosed with ALS, a form of Motor Neuron Disease, shortly after his 21st birthday. In 1985, Stephen underwent a tracheotomy, which removed his already limited powers of speech. He was able to control a cursor on a screen and type out sentences albeit with increasingly painful slowness. In spite of being wheelchair-bound and dependent on a computerized voice system for communication Stephen continues to combine family with his research into theoretical physics, in addition to an extensive program of travel and public lectures.

Stephen remained remarkably positive throughout his life, despite the immense frustration that his condition clearly caused. He seemed energized rather than exhausted by his travels to all parts of the world, as well as by his regular trips to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He was happy to engage with the media, despite its insistent attention. His comments gained so much  attention even on subjects in that he was not a specialist.

Stephen has said that everything that had happened since, had been a bonus. After doing such a remarkable bonus job for physics, and great discoveries despite all his achievements against all the odds, this great personality rested in peace on 14th March 2018.


Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

— Stephen Hawking


 

 

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