o The Frog Blog: Stephen Hawking

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is an English theoretical physicist who is one of the world's leaders in his field. His principal areas of research are theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity. Hawking is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University (formerly held by Sir Isaac Newton). Afflicted with Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; ALS), Hawking is confined to a wheelchair and is unable to speak without the aid of a computer voice synthesizer. However, despite his challenges, he has utilized his intelligence, knowledge and abilities to make remarkable contributions to the field of cosmology (the study of the universe as a whole). Hawking wrote the book A Brief History of Time. This book attempts to explain a range of subjects in cosmology, including the Big Bang, black holes, light cones and superstring theory, to the nonspecialist reader. Its main goal is to give an overview of the subject but, unusual for a popular science book, it also attempts to explain some complex mathematics. The author notes that an editor warned him that for every equation in the book the readership would be halved, hence it includes only a single equation: E = mc². In addition to Hawking's abstinence from equations, the book also simplifies matters by means of illustrations throughout the text, depicting complex models and diagrams. The book is considered by many to be an "unread bestseller", which is a book many people own but few have finished. He was born today, Jan 8th, in 1942

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