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News & Discussion

The Interesting Life of Stephen Hawking

Apr 10, 2018 12:00 AM

There are countless resources, both online, as well as in print about famous scientists and their accomplishments in the scientific realm. Some grew up in prestigious families, while others had financial troubles and worked at a young age to help support their family. Unfortunately, biographies do not highlight scientists’ childhood, although knowing more about them would make for an interesting and enlightening read.

Stephen Hawking is a well-known physicist who recently lost his battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease last month. He was born in Oxford, England in 1942 to a poor, but educated couple named Frank and Isobel Hawking. The couple went on to have two more children and adopted a second son. Frank researched medicine and spent many months away from his family to study tropical diseases in Africa. Stephen was a brilliant child but did not apply himself in his studies. Instead, he enjoyed creating his own board games and even developed a computer, along with some friends, that solved basic math equations.

Stephen’s father wanted him to become a physician, but this was not what captivated Hawking’s attention. His mother, Isobel, realized that her first-born had a love of science, especially the constellations and space. One of Stephen’s favorite things to do with his mother and siblings was to lay in the backyard and gaze at the twinkling stars.

Hawking’s graduated from Oxford University and received his doctorate in cosmology from Cambridge University. It was during this that he experienced deteriorated health. After a battery of tests, doctors diagnosed him with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease and told him that he had about two years to live. When he first heard this grim news, it motivated Mr. Hawkings to pursue his scientific interests and research. According to the website http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Biographies/Hawking.html, one of the most significant contributions Mr. Hawkings made to science was the discovery

“using the quantum theory and general relativity he was able to show that black holes can emit radiation… In 1971 Hawking investigated the creation of the Universe and predicted that, following the big bang, many objects…would be created. These mini black holes have a large gravitational attraction governed by general relativity…”

Essentially, he “demonstrated that matter, in the form of radiation, can escape the gravitational force of a collapsed star” (https://www.biography.com/people/stephen-hawking-9331710).

Stephen’s muscles shut down, and he used a wheelchair. Eventually, he used a unique computer that connected a sensor to his cheek so that he can write his books and continue his research. Stephen Hawkings wrote four books. His most famous book was A Brief History in Time, and in 1988 it was on the best-seller list for 237 weeks! He also received many prestigious awards and honors during his lifetime.

Just as Stephen’s mother noticed that her son was interested in space and the galaxies, do you see an interests in your children? Do they ask you questions about the brilliant night sky or why stars look like they are “twinkling”?

This is an opportunity that you should not pass up. Children ask questions because they’re curious and want to know more about something. Take time to investigate with them and help them find answers to their questions. Take advantage of the many online resources that will help your kids learn more about constellations and galaxies. You never know how your involvement in your children’s education and interests will pay off in the long run. The more kids are inquisitive, their hunger for learning grows too. Knowledge is power.


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