Stephen William Hawking (Eng. Stephen William Hawking) - English theoretical physicist, known for his research in astrophysics, in particular the theory of black holes, popularizer of scientific knowledge.
He studied the theory of the emergence of the world as a result of the Big Bang, as well as the theory of black holes. He hypothesized that low-mass black holes lose energy, emitting Hawking radiation along their event horizon, and, in the end, "die".
Place of Birth. Education. Stephen Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, where his parents moved from London, fearing German bombing.
Father - Frank Hawking, who worked as a researcher at the medical center in Hampstead. Mother, Isabelle Hawking, worked there as a secretary. In addition to Stephen, the family brought up two younger sisters (Philippa and Mary) and an adopted brother, Edward.
In 1962, Stephen graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA degree, and in 1966 received a Ph.D. degree from Trinity Hall College, Cambridge University, with a dissertation entitled "The Properties of Expanding Universes".
Scientific career. From 1965, Hawking at the University of Cambridge worked as a researcher at Gonville and Keyes College.
In 1968-1972 - at the Institute of Theoretical Astronomy.
In 1972-1973 - at the Institute of Astronomy.
In 1973-1975 - at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.
In 1975-1977 he taught the theory of gravity.
In 1977-1979 - professor of gravitational physics, since 1979 - professor of mathematics.
In 1974-1975 he was a fellow at the California Institute of Technology.
Hawking himself said that, as a professor of mathematics, he had never received any mathematical education since high school. In his first year at Oxford, Hawking read a textbook two weeks ahead of his own students.
In 1974, Hawking became a member of the Royal Society of London.
In 1979 he became Lucas Professor at the University of Cambridge. He held this position until 2009.
Disease. He had diseases of motor neurons, the first manifestations of which appeared at the age of 21. At first they were weak: slight clumsiness and a few unexpected falls. The diagnosis was a huge shock, but it helped a person determine his future:
“Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, to my surprise I found that I now began to enjoy life more than before.”
After the diagnosis of the disease in 1963, doctors believed that he had only two and a half years to live, but the disease progressed not so quickly, and he began to use a wheelchair only in the late 1960s.
In 1985, Stephen Hawking fell seriously ill with pneumonia. After a series of operations, he underwent a tracheostomy, and Hawking lost the ability to speak. For a while, Professor Hawking could only communicate in one way: he raised an eyebrow when someone pointed to the correct letter on an alphabet card. But then a computer expert from California, Walt Woltosh, having learned about the professor's position, sent him a program he had developed with his own hand, which he called Equalizer. It allowed using a switch in the palm of your hand to select the desired words on the screen from the menu system.
Some mobility was retained only by the index finger on Hawking's right hand. Subsequently, mobility remained only in the mimic muscle of the cheek, opposite which the sensor was fixed. With his help, the physicist controlled a computer that allowed him to communicate with others.
Despite serious illness, he led an active life. In 2007, he flew in zero gravity on a special aircraft, and a flight into space was planned for 2009, which did not take place.
Scientific achievements. One of the most influential and well-known theoretical physicists of our time, one of the founders of quantum cosmology. Known for his works on the study of black holes, theoretical cosmology, quantum gravity.
Hawking's main area of research is cosmology and quantum gravity. His main achievements:
- application of thermodynamics to the description of black holes;
- development in 1975 of the theory that black holes "evaporate" due to a phenomenon called Hawking radiation;
In addition, in 1971, within the framework of the Big Bang theory, Hawking proposed the concept of microscopic black holes, the mass of which could be billions of tons and at the same time occupy the volume of a proton. These objects are at the intersection of the theory of relativity (due to their huge mass and gravity) and quantum mechanics (due to their size).
On July 21, 2004, Hawking presented a report in which he outlined his point of view on the solution of the paradox about the disappearance of information in a black hole.
Books and popularization of science. Actively engaged in the popularization of science. In April 1988, his book A Brief History of Time was published and became a bestseller. Thanks to this book, he became famous all over the world. In the preface he wrote:
“I was told that each one, placed in the formula book, would halve the number of buyers. Then I decided to do without formulas at all. True, in the end I wrote one equation - the famous Einstein equation E=m²".
Then the books Black Holes and Young Universes (1993) and The World in a Nutshell (2001) were written. In 2005, a new edition of "A Brief History of Time" was published - "A Short History of Time", co-authored with Leonard Mlodinov.
Movies. Popular science films featuring Hawking were released on television: the six-part Stephen Hawking's Universe (1997) and the three-part Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking (2010). In 2012, Stephen Hawking's Grand Design was released.
Views. Was an atheist. In British politics, Stephen Hawking was a supporter of Labor. In March 1968, he participated in a march against the Vietnam War.
Supported nuclear disarmament, universal health care and the fight against climate change; called the war in Iraq in 2003 a "war crime", and also boycotted the conference in Israel because of disagreement with the policy of the authorities of that country towards the Palestinians.
Distinctions and awards. Outstanding Awards: Prince of Asturias Award (1989), Copley Medal (2006) The main belt asteroid 7672 Hawking, discovered on October 24, 1995, is named after the scientist.
Personal life. In 1965 he married Jane Wilde, later they had a son Robert (b. 1967), a daughter Lucy (b. 1970) and a son Timothy (b. 1979). Stephen's relationship with Jane gradually deteriorated, and in 1990 they began to live separately. After his divorce from Jane in 1995, Hawking married his caregiver, Elaine Mason, with whom he lived for 11 years. They also divorced in October 2006.
Death. Hawking died at the age of 76 at his home in Cambridge on the night of March 14, 2018. The death of the scientist was reported by members of his family. They did not specify the details, only the fact that he died peacefully was mentioned.