Education, Disability, Career, Achievements, Personal Life, wife, Married & Children

Stephen Hawking Journey of Life

Stephen William Hawking is a name that requires no introduction. He is a living legend, a living source of inspiration, a fighter, and of course not to forget to mention, a famous scientist. ‘Scientist’ is the identity that Hawking always wants to be remembered and addressed with. And Stephen Hawking’s journey of life is a lesson to every individual who wants to move forward and succeed despite any difficulties.

Hawking’s recent statement states the same.

"Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up."

(Source: British Newspaper. The Independent)

The scientist Hawking is popular for his efforts in scientific spectrum which includes Hawking radiation, theory of cosmology (union of general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics), collaboration on gravitational singularity theorems and also support in many- words interpretation that is of quantum mechanics.

 Birth, Education and Early Life

Hawking journey of life began in 8th January 1942 in Oxford, England which was a considerable place for having babies in case of safety as it was the period of Second World War. His parents Frank and Isobel Hawking had been living in North London. Hawking began his schooling at the Byron House School. His family then shifted to St. Albans when he was eight years old. There, at St. Albans School, he started studying at the age of eleven. He then went to Oxford University College as desired by his father. Both his parents had studied in Oxford with his father being student of medicine and mother student of Philosophy, Politics and Economics. His father Frank, wanted him to study medicine but Hawking wanted to study Mathematics being inspired from his Mathematics teacher Dikran Tahta. However, Mathematics was not the subject of study in University, so he chose to study Physics and Chemistry at the age of 17.

With about 1000 hours of study as per Hawking’s estimation in three years of study, he managed to get a first class honors degree in Natural Science. Hawking then initiated his work of research at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in 1962. Under the supervision of Denis Sciama, also a contributing founder of modern cosmology, instead of Fred Hoyle as he had wanted, he studied for his Ph.D.

Hawking was initially depressed when he was diagnosed by motor neuron disease but moved forward with higher spirit and will power. He also received fellowship in research at Gonville and Caius College. He gained his PhD degree in March 1966 in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, with specialization in general relativity and cosmology. He also won Adams Prize that year for his essay with topic ‘Singularities and the Geometry of Space-Time’.


He initially started having difficulties in walking and experienced frequent falls and clumsiness. Doctors diagnosed him with ALS; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as motor neurone disease and gave him two years of life expectancy. It was 1963, when he was just 21. He started getting paralyzed slowly. He gradually lost his physical abilities to walk, talk and write. He had to be persuaded a lot to use a wheelchair. He required someone to translate his speech.  The situation worsened when he suffered from pneumonia in mid-1985.  He required 24 hour nursing and care. Stephen Hawking journey of life has started becoming more and more tough.

But, he did not lose hope and was determined enough to go ahead. He used his eyebrows to choose letters in spelling card in the beginning. Hawking then used ‘Equalizer’, a computer program to be used in desktop computer by Walter Woltosz for communicating. Later, a small computer was attached in his wheelchair by David, a computer engineer which he used by activating switch from his hand. With loosing ability of hand, he used his cheek muscles to communicate from his device. He then used adaptive word predictor by swiftkey after several experiments and research prototypes by Intel researchers.

By 2009, he couldn’t drive his wheelchair and efforts are going on to help him do so by his chin movements but is complicated due to Hawking’s inability to move his neck. He has been hospitalized and requires ventilator often due to his breathing problem.

Career, Achievements and Personal life

In mid 1960s, Stephen Hawking began working in extending his concepts of singularity theorem with Penrose and together published proof for their work that General Theory of Relativity of Einstein inferred space and time would begin in the Big Bang and have an end in black holes. Hawking also came up with second law of black hole dynamics in 1970 proposing 4 laws of black hole mechanics. He then published his first book ‘The Large Scale Structure of space-time’ in 1973. The same year he studied quantum gravity and quantum mechanics and came up with discovery of black hole emitting radiation. He went on to discover that black holes should not be completely black; it should emit radiation and finally evaporate and then disappear. In 1974, he was known to be the youngest scientist to be elected in royal society as a fellow.

He also worked at California Institute of technology and returned to Cambridge in 1975 for a position of a reader in gravitational physics. That year, he bagged Eddington medal and Plus XI Gold medal and Dannie Heineman Prize, Maxwell Prize and Hughes Medal next year. In 1977, he worked as a professor and received Albert Einstein Medal in 1978. He also got elected in the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in the University from 1979 till 2009. Hawkings received more than a dozen honorary degrees and awarded CBE in 1982. He also became a Companion of Honor in 1989.

Stephen hawking journey of life and his career can be still reflected in Cambridge University as he retains in an office at the Department for Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics. He has been a great supervisor for 39 PHD students.  Stephen Hawking has contributed on the basic governing laws of the universe. Along with his publications mentioned above, others include General Relativity: An Einstein Centenary Survey, and 300 Years of Gravity. Among all Hawking’s popular books, A Brief History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, My brief History, The Grand Design and of course My Brief History are the best sellers. In My brief history, Hawking has along with humor and humility, has opened up about all the challenges he has to face from ALS diagnosis till present.

Picture  from his facebook page

Marriage, Personal Life

 Hawking had been in relationship with his sister’s friend, Jane Wilde while he was a graduate student before he got diagnosed by ALS. In October 1964, the couple got engage and married on July 14 1965. Jane also started PhD and the couple were blessed with three children, son Robert in 1967, daughter Lucy in 1970 and Timothy. By late 1970s, Jane started having romantic feelings for close friend Jonathan Hellyer Jones. There was tension due to contrast between their beliefs in case of religion. Hawking’s does not believe in existence of God and Jane had strong Christian faith. In the late 1980s, Hawking was also close to Elaine Mason, one of his nurses, which was not liked by his family and friends. In 1995, Hawking divorced from Jane and married Mason. They, however, divorced quietly in 2006. After that, Stephen Hawking continued his relationship with his former wife Jane, children and grandchildren.

Recently, Stephen Hawking said that humanity will not survive another 1,000 years on Earth because of challenges like climate change, robots, nukes. In his speech at Oxford University Union, he stated that it is necessary to leave Earth and make places on other planets which is the best chance for survival of species. Despite all the challenges faced, Hawking continues with his widespread program related to lectures in science and cosmology. He continues to reach to space one day. Strong will power is the main essence of Stephen Hawking’s journey of life.

Stephen Hawking is active in social media sites like facebook  and one can find more information about him in his official website,


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