“I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”
Stephen Hawking is a name that needs no introduction. Cited as one of the most brilliant physicists, Stephen is responsible for his immense contribution towards understanding the workings of the Universe, especially black holes. The concept of Hawking Radiation, a kind of (predicted) blackbody radiation given out by black holes, is named after the great scientist who passed away on the 14th of March in 2018. His developments in theoretical physics have laid the groundwork for several scientists and enthusiasts looking to get answers to various mysteries put forward by the much mysterious Universe. So, here are top 10 Stephen Hawking facts that you might like to know about.
10. To Alpha Centauri!
The nearest star system to our solar system is the Alpha Centauri. It is about 4.37 light years away from the Sun. Stephen Hawking was one of the triumvirate board of directors for an ambitious mission to send a fleet of robot space crafts to the Alpha Centauri. Amazingly, the space crafts designed for the soon-to-launch mission will be no larger than the size of iPhones. The other two members of the troika were Yuri Milner, a Russian philanthropist, and Mark Zuckerberg.
09. First Quadriplegic to Witness Zero Gravity
Zero Gravity Corp is an organization that offers its clients to experience zero gravity, also known as free-fall, by means of a sharp ascent followed by a sharp descent while traveling in an airplane. In 2007, Stephen Hawking became the first quadriplegic to experience zero gravity with the help of the Zero Gravity Corp flight crew. The scientist even managed to do some flips in the air. Stephen Hawking believed that in the near future, the Earth might not be inhabitable due to the alarming issues of global warming and pollution. Therefore, he supported space travel.
08. Same Job as that of Isaac Newton
Stephen Hawking was the 17th Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University. The position existed since 1663. Interestingly, the academic chair position was held by Sir Isaac Newton over the course of 1669 to 1702. Maybe the job is intended for some of the greatest physicists in the world.
07. Played a Significant Role in the Development of the Boundless Universe Theory
Boundless Universe Theory is a philosophy given by Jim Hartle in 1983. The theory suggests that the Universe has no boundaries. Stephen Hawking played an important role in developing the theory along with Jim Hartle.
06. Not a Born Brainy
At the age of 9, Stephen Hawking got grades that qualify to be among some of the worst class grades one can ever have, especially for a brilliant scientist-to-be. Later, he could escalate those grades to reach average. Therefore, little Hawking was nothing like what he is regarded today, a true genius. However, his teachers agreed that his grades weren’t because he was dumb albeit disinterested or lazy.
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05. Loved to Show-Off on the Screen
In addition to being an avid man of science, Stephen Hawking was known for his playful sense of humor. He liked to show-off his comical side on TV shows and movies. For instance, he appeared as himself in the famous sitcom Big Bang Theory and lend his voice to his animated version on The Simpsons. The real Stephen Hawking can also be seen cracking jokes alongside roleplayed characters of Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton in Star Trek: Next Generation. He also appeared in documentaries like Stephen Hawking: Master of the Universe and Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking.
04. “Big Bang” in the Big Bang Theory Mocks Him
Before Stephen Hawking proposed the Big Bang Theory, mainstream cosmologist fraternity believed in the Steady State Theory. The theory stated that the Universe has existed forever the way it is now. When Hawking proposed the idea that the Universe might be a result of a bizarre explosion from a single point of origin, known as the singularity, others mocked him saying that according to the physicist there was a “Big Bang” at the beginning of everything. Over time, Stephen’s version of the creation of the Universe was accepted in the form of the The Big Bang Theory.
03. One of the Few to Outlive ALS
Stephen Hawking was merely 21 years old, when doctors diagnosed him with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS. Also known as Motor Neuron Disease and the Lou Gehrig Syndrome, patients suffering from ALS don’t have much time to spare. Doctors told Hawking that he had 2 more years, at the max, to live. However, the theoretical physicist lived about 55 years since then. He was among a select few people who were able to outlive ALS for so many years.
02. Saved by His Wife at Age 41
In 1985, at the age of 41, Stephen Hawking contracted pneumonia. The case was so severe that doctors asked his then-wife, Jane Hawking if she like to end his husband’s suffering by pulling off the life support. The woman replied negatively. In that case, doctors were forced to perform a tracheotomy for saving Stephen’s life. Amazingly, the scientist lived to accomplish several achievements and breakthroughs.
01. Father Wanted Medicine, He Wanted Mathematics; Got Physics
Mr. Frank Hawking, the father to Stephen, wanted his son to study medicine at Oxford. However, the boy had a knack for Mathematics. He explained his disinterest in biology by stating that it was “too inexact, too descriptive.” Stephen liked mathematics because he believed that it was “too precise and well-defined.” However, the problem was that Oxford didn’t offer a math major either. So, Stephen attended Oxford and chose physics.