Mathematician Focus: Stephen Hawking

Who was he and what was he famous for?

Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford, in January 1942. He was a British author, professor and scientist whose groundbreaking work in the fields of Physics and Cosmology, as well as his books, helped to make science accessible to everyone.
Hawking studied Physics, starting with a BA (Bachelor of Arts) at the University of Oxford, before completing a Ph.D at the University of Oxford.
At the age of 21, whilst studying at the University of Cambridge, Hawking was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). He continued to work despite the effects the disease were having on his body.

He later became Cambridge’s professor of Mathematics, a post once held by Isaac Newton.
His contributions earned him many honoUrs, including being elected a fellow of the Royal Society and being made Commander of the British Empire (CBE).

Stephen Hawking is most famous for his contributions to Cosmology, General Relativity, and Quantum Gravity, especially his Black Hole Theory.

He died at his home in Cambridge earlier this year, at the age of 76.

Did you also know?

  • Hawking received mediocre grades in primary and high school
  • He was on the Oxford Rowing Team in his first year at the University
  • At 21 years of age, he was given only a few years to live – Having been diagnosed with ALS
  • He was a children’s book author, having collaborated with his daughter in 2007
  • He believed in the possibility of aliens
  • He has featured in an episode of The Simpsons, voicing himself.
  • Part of his life story was depicted in the Oscar winning 2014 film The Theory of Everything, where Stephen Hawking is portrayed by actor Eddie Redmayne


  • Boundless Universe Theory
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • The Origins of the Universe
  • Black Hole Radiation
  • Gravitational and Spacetime Singularities

Some quotes from Hawking

  • “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change”
  • “Silent people have the loudest minds”
  • “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at”
  • “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge”
  • “Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it”

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