Influential Figure In Physics: Stephen Hawking

Many influential scientists have led to finding new discoveries in the field of science, especially in physics. Physics is an important branch of science that people use on a daily basis. This branch of science is the study of matter and energy. It is important because physics is used to help solve problems to improve a better quality of life. For example, Stephen Hawking, an influential physicist, invented the DEC talk. This allowed him to help others with disabilities to translate text in speech.

Not only did he invent DEC talk, but he also made many other discoveries. An example being, Laws of Blackhole mechanics. Law states that the surface of the black hole will never reach a smaller size than it already is. This is known as the Hawking Area Theorem. Another law states that black holes are hot, which contradicts physics in saying that black holes don’t release heat. He also wrote a book called “A Brief History of Time” which explains the big bang theory, black holes, etc. In addition, he proposed the “Top-Down Theory” on cosmology with Thomas Hertog. This theory states that the universe did not have one original start, rather than it began as one unique beginning. His list of discoveries goes on.

Hawking was born on Jan 8, 1942, in Oxford, United Kingdom. He passed away on March 14, 2018, in Cambridge, England. Throughout Hawking’s life, he gradually got paralyzed from a disease known as ALS Lou Gehrig's disease. His disease led him to have a speech impairment and performing tasks in a wheelchair for 55 years.

Hawking was born and raised in the small town of Oxford which was located in the United Kingdom. His parents were Frank Hawking and Isobel Eileen Hawking. Stephen was born into a brilliant family. His mother’s side of the family was full of doctors. Both of his parents attended the University of Oxford where his father got a degree and became a medical researcher. On the other hand, his mother became a secretary for a medical research institute.

In 1950, his father became the head of the division for parasitology at the National Institute for medical research. This led the family to move away to St. Albans, Hertfordshire where the family was considered brilliant.

Hawking began his education at a center called the Byron House School in Highgate, London. Byron House School was not considered as one of the best schools which caused Hawkings to complain and blamed the school for his failure at learning. Therefore, Hawking transferred to attend St. Albans High School for girls. Although it was an all-girls school, young boys like Hawking, who was 8 at the time, were allowed to attend the school. Months later, he transferred to Radlett School and then transferred back to St. Albans School in 1959. Hawkings graduated early from Prep school.

After graduating, he went on to attend the University College located in Oxford at the age of 17 in October 1959. At first, he found the given work at the University easy. He did not find this environment as a complex learning environment. This resulted in him being bored and feeling lonely. In his third year, Stephen became a popular student. He decided to join the “University College Boat Club” where he became part of the rowing crew. He was known for taking his group on risky and dangerous routes. This made him classified as a daredevil by his team members and the coach of the club.

During his three years at Oxford Hawkings, he spent a total of 1000 hours or even more studying. In 1962, Hawkings went on to begin his graduate work at the University of Cambridge where he started his work as a doctoral student. As a first-year student, it was very difficult for him but he pursued his studies.

Throughout the years, Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron disease also known as ALS Lou Gehrig's disease. Due to his being diagnosed with ALS, Hawking fell into depression. He felt there was no point in continuing his studies. The doctors and colleagues pursued him to continue his studies even though he saw no point in pursuing it. The disease was progressing more slowly than doctors predicted. As the disease started gradually progressing, Hawking started to have difficulty walking by himself and his speech was starting to become intelligible. Doctors told him that he was given only two years to live. Obviously, the doctors were incorrect because he had ALS for 55 years.

Hawking later began to continue his studies again. He was starting to get the reputation of a brilliant human being. As he returned to his studies, Hawkings found himself in a time period where there was an abundant amount of debate and theories on how the Universe was created.

Hawkings was inspired by Roger Penrose’s theorem of a spacetime singularity in the center of black holes. Hawking went on to apply this theorem into his own. However, Hawking applied it to the whole universe. In 1965, he wrote his first thesis on his topic and it became approved in 1966. Then, Hawking went on to obtain his Ph.D. degree in applied mathematics and theoretical physics.

In March of 1966, he wrote an essay called “Singularities and the Geometry of Space-Time” which shared top honors. This won Hawking the Adams Prize which was huge at the time. In his work he collaborated with Penrose, it helped him expand the singularity theorem. Not only did this led to the existence of singularities, but it also led to how singularities led to the existence of the universe. In 1970, Hawking created what was known as the “Second Law of Black Hole Dynamics” which stated that the event horizon of a black hole can never get smaller. Then, he went on to propose four more laws of black holes with James M. Bardeen and Brandon Carter. With the results of his research, Hawkings was able to show that black holes were able to emit radiation and this became known as “Hawking's Radiation”.

Hawkings later on throughout his life became completely paralyzed but he still managed to become a professor at Cambridge University and was also an author. He wrote books such as “The Theory of Everything”, “A Brief History of Time”, “The Universe in a Nutshell”, and many more. Hawkings also had his own TV show which aired on May 18, 2016. This show ended on June 1st, 2016 and was called “Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking”. Hawking passed away peacefully on March 14, 2018, at the age of 76 years old.

Stephen Hawking once said, “Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.” As you read, you learn that Stephen Hawking was an important person that introduced many theories and discoveries in today's society. He helped influence people from going to the field of science. He also influenced what we know about science, especially physics today. Many of his theories allowed him to be labeled as one of the greatest scientists to ever live. He has left a legacy that will follow him forever. 

16 August 2021
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