From Earth to the Cosmos: A Biography of Stephen Hawking


Born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England, Stephen Hawking was a brilliant theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who was known for his groundbreaking work on black holes and the origins of the universe. Despite being diagnosed with a rare and debilitating motor neuron disease at the age of 21, Hawking did not let his physical limitations hinder his intellectual pursuits. He became a pioneer in the field of theoretical physics, pushing the boundaries of our understanding of the cosmos and inspiring generations of scientists and non-scientists alike.

Hawking’s interest in science and the mysteries of the universe began at a young age. He was a curious and inquisitive child who loved to tinker with gadgets and explore the world around him. However, it wasn’t until he was a graduate student at the University of Cambridge that he truly began to delve into the complexities of the universe.

In 1963, at the age of 21, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive and incurable neurological disease that causes the muscles to weaken and eventually results in paralysis. This diagnosis gave Hawking a life expectancy of only two years, causing him to become depressed and withdraw from his studies. However, with the encouragement of his family and colleagues, he decided to continue his work in theoretical physics and make the most of whatever time he had left.

Despite his physical limitations, Hawking continued to excel in his studies and research. He earned his PhD in cosmology from the University of Cambridge in 1966 and went on to become a professor of mathematics there. In the late 1960s, he began working on his most famous contribution to the field of physics – the theory of black holes.

Hawking’s groundbreaking work on black holes, which combined the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, revolutionized our understanding of these mysterious objects. He showed that black holes are not completely black, as previously thought, but rather emit radiation, now known as “Hawking radiation”, that carries away energy and causes the black hole to eventually evaporate. This discovery challenged and changed the way we think about the laws of physics and the origins of the universe.

Throughout his career, Hawking continued to make significant contributions to the field of theoretical physics, publishing numerous books and articles on black holes, the Big Bang, and the theory of everything. He also became a cultural icon, making appearances on popular TV shows and writing best-selling books that made complex scientific concepts accessible to the general public.

Hawking’s sense of humor and determination in the face of adversity made him a beloved figure around the world. Despite being confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak without the assistance of a computerized voice synthesizer, he continued to defy the odds and live a full and productive life. He even took part in zero-gravity flights and became the first quadriplegic to experience weightlessness.

Sadly, on March 14, 2018, Stephen Hawking passed away at the age of 76. His death was mourned by people around the world, from fellow scientists to celebrities to ordinary individuals who had been touched by his work and his indomitable spirit.

Stephen Hawking’s legacy continues to live on, with his work inspiring future generations of scientists and his contributions to our understanding of the universe solidifying his place in history. Despite his physical limitations, he left an immeasurable impact on the world of science and beyond, proving that one’s potential is not limited by their circumstances. His journey from Earth to the cosmos will forever be remembered as a testament to the power of human curiosity, determination, and resilience.