|Born: Jan 8 1942 in Oxford, England|
|Fields: Physics – general relativity and quantum gravity
Stephen Hawking is a British theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who enjoys massive success with his works in popular science. He is an honorary member of the Royal Society of Arts , a lifteime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and a recepient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. His motor neurone disease has left him almost completely paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, forced to speak through a speech generating device.
Hawking was born in Oxford, England to medical researcher Frank and secretary Isobel. He initially struggled academically, but soon started showing a great aptitude towards scientific subjects. Under influence from his mathematics teacher Dikran Tahta (with whom he built a computer out of clock parts and a telephone switchboard at the age of 16 in 1958), Hawking decided to study mathematics in university. Despite that, his father wanted him to attend the Oxford University College like him, so Hawking decided to study physics and chemistry, since mathematics was not an option there. He completed his doctorate in 1966. His essay, titled ”Singularities and the Geometry of Space-Time”, got top honors, including the Adams Prize.
His disease started taking effect in the late 1960s, taking away his ability to write and getting him to stop lecturing. Despite that, he still continued the work started with his PhD thesis, which got him compared to Mozart creating a symphony in his head by physicist Werner Israel. He started studying black holes in 1970 and published his first book, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time.
Since the 1970s, Hawking has be recognized for his contribution to quantum mechanics and other scientific fields on numerous ocassions. Most recently, this came in the form of the Presidentila Medal of Freedom in 2009 and the Russian Fundamental Physics Prize in 2012.
Presidential Medal of Freedom
Albert Einstein Medal
Wolf Prize in Physics
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
Dirac Medal of the Institute of Physics