Success has no limitation as Stephen Hawking, the British Physicist and Cosmologist had proved. Although he was medically and physically challenged, he inspired many lives by carving a niche for himself in the field of science with his high IQ and many discoveries. He also had a career as an author of notable science books such as A Brief History of Time, which made history in the British Sunday Times best-seller list when it appeared consectively for 237 weeks at the top of the list. He was also a Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.
The theoretical scientist is regarded as one of the best there ever was as he was honored with multiple awards and medals with regards to his innovative and groundbreaking works which introduced a new dimension in science and made it easier to understand. Most notable among his body of works are Blackhole radiation and the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, which made him most famous. Learn more interesting facts you need to know about the prestigious physicist’s career, family life and death below.
The Lucasian professor was born on the 8th of January 1942 in Oxford, England. His father was Frank Hawking, who studied medicine at the University of Oxford and later worked as a medical researcher. His mother studied Philosophy, Physics, and Economics at the same University as his father. She later got a job as a medical research institute secretary. Hawking’s siblings include two younger sisters; Philippa, Mary, and an adopted brother named Edward Frank David.
In 1950, his family moved to St.Albans, Hertfordshire as a result of his father’s promotion as the head of the division of Parasitology at the National Institute for Medical Research. There, Hawking completed his basic education at Radlett and St. Albans Schools respectively. He attained a first class honors degree in Physics from the University of Oxford and then furthered his studies at the University of Cambridge where he obtained his MA and Ph.D. degrees in Cosmology.
As a renowned physicist and cosmologist, he had penned down his innovative ideas, theories and formulas in a good number of books such as A Brief History of Time, Blackholes and Baby Universes and other Essays, The Universe in a Nutshell, God Created the Integers: The Mathematical Breakthroughs That Changed History among others.
Interestingly, the film; The Theory of Everything was partly based on Stephen Hawking’s true-life story. He has also made several on-screen appearances in movies and documentaries like Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Real Stephen Hawking, Stephen Hawking: Profile, The Big Bang Theory and many more. His immense contribution in the field of science has been highly commended and honored with multiple titles, awards and medals such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom which is the highest honour given to an American civilian, The Russian Fundamental Physics Prize, American Franklin Medal, Commander of the Order of British Empire, Albert Einstein Medal and Award and others.
Stephen Hawking’s Family – Wife and Kids
While he was still an undergraduate, Stephen Hawking met his now ex-wife; Jane Wilde at a 1963 New Year’s party shortly before he was diagnosed with the motor neuron disease otherwise known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The pair got engaged in October 1964 and exchanged marital vows the following year.
Soon after that, the couple welcomed their first child Robert in May 1967. Three years later, Jane gave birth to their daughter Lucy and their third child Timothy was born in April 1979. Back in 1977 Jane had met and fallen in love with Jonathan Hellyer but chose to remain married to Hawking even though his illness had taken a toll on their marriage.
A few years down the line, Hawking started nurturing romantic feelings for one of the nurses taking care of him by the name of Elaine Maison. Almost soon after, he abandoned Jane and his family for Maison. In 1995, he signed the divorce papers from Jane and at the same time solemnized his union with Maison. Thereafter, he isolated his family with Jane from his life until later in 2006 when he got separated from Maison and reconciled with his family and Jane, who herself had remarried.
How Did He Die?
Having been diagnosed with the early-onset stage of motor neuron disease in 1963, his health went on a gradual decline until Stephen Hawking became paralyzed and was neither able to talk nor walk as the disease developed over the years. However, he was able to communicate through the aid of a speech generating device that was modified severally over the years to suit every new low his disabilities sank to. After battling with the illness for over 5 decades, Hawking died on 14th March 2018, when he was 76 years old.
As a renowned scientist who had published a good number of works in the field, and was also a Lucasian Professor at the University of Cambridge for over 3 decades, Hawking’s financial value is estimated to be about $20 million.