12 Most interesting facts which you never knew about Stephen Hawking
Winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom 2009, the Fundamental Physics Prize 2012, and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award 2015, Stephen Hawking is probably one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists present in this day and age.
In 1963 he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Despite losing control of every part of his body, but despite this, he survived to become a symbol representing the power of the human mind and spirit. Here are 10 interesting facts about Stephen Hawking.
1 Hawking wasn’t meant to last long enough to see his 24th Birthday
As he was diagnosed with ALS or MTD at 23 in 1963 doctors had estimated just 2 years more for him to live. Surprisingly he proved them wrong by surviving for over 50 years. The disease is known to destroy the neurons controlling the voluntary muscles making it very difficult to swallow, speak and even breathe. Even though Hawking has now lost all control of his body he communicates through a high-tech computerized system using only his cheek movements.
2 He has an intriguing Date of Birth
Hawking was born in 1942 on the 8th of January. While it may seem like just another ordinary day in the calendar of 1942, according to history, it was on this very day precisely 300 years ago that Galileo Galilei had died (1642). Galileo was renowned as one of the greatest mathematician, inventor, astronomer and physicist in history.
3 He had a Humble Upbringing
Stephen Hawking is one of the richest persons in the world today. However, he never did have a leisurely upbringing.. He was born to a rather poor family in Oxford, England during WWII. It was particularly hard for his parents, despite being educated, to provide for their family since the raging war was exhausting the country’s economy. After Hawking turned 8, his family relocated to St. Albans. Today Hawking can buy any car he wants, but in his childhood the only car his family could afford was an old London Taxi.
4 He wasn’t the Brightest of Students
Hawking wasn’t a straight-A student at school, in fact he was either average or below average at academics. He couldn’t read properly till he was 8, was lazy, untidy and had horrible handwriting. Coincidently his teachers and classmates nicknamed him Einstein, either to mock him or maybe they did indeed, see something in him which related to Einstein. Hawking wasn’t exactly poor in studies it was just that he never paid much attention. But when he began taking his studies seriously, he excelled.
5 Hawking’s Scores in Physics were nearly perfect
Since Hawking is the best theoretical physicist in this time, it is totally true that he had close to perfect scores in physics. He developed an affinity for science towards the end of his high-school years. He then worked his way into Oxford University via a scholarship which he achieved by attaining exceptional grades on the university’s entrance exams, with the most outstanding results in physics.
6 He went to a Girl’s School
In those times it was a rather normal practice to send young boy’s to all-girl schools as co-educational school were pretty expensive. Since, Hawking’s family’s situation was not that well-off, his parents sent him to St. Albans High School for Girl for a few months.
7 He joined the Oxford Rowing Team
Hawking was a very active youth before disease struck him down. He joined the rowing team when he was in Oxford, would enjoy classical music and loved dancing. He did all this in an effort to escape his boredom,as his studies proved no challenge at all to him.
8 He held the same Prestigious Post as Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton was only the second ever individual to have held the post of the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. This position is one of the most prestigious in the academic world and can only be achieved by exceptional individuals. Well, Hawking’s is such an individual and held this position till he was 67 and then stepped down. It is like a tradition for all holders of this position to step down from their post upon reaching the age of 67 years.
9 Hawking’s supports Euthanasia or Assisted Suicide
To euthanize or assist a person who is suffering and longs for death is illegal and punishable by law. Whereas, letting them suffer without any cure or ailment to treat their illness is also considered immoral and cruel. Hawking’s has confessed to have wanting to commit suicide on at least one occasion due to his disease rendering him totally incapable of nearly all movement.
10 Hawking was Married Twice
In 1965, Stephen Hawking married Jane Hawking, a woman who was introduced to him by his sister and became his college sweetheart. Hawking mentioned that Jane gave him a reason to continue living and they even had three children. But their marriage ended in 1995, with them getting divorced. The reason was due to their relationship getting strained by the lack of privacy in their lives because of Hawking’s condition. Jane met someone else while Hawking himself married Elaine Mason in 1995. Elaine was part of the team that was around to ensure that Hawking’s got the 24 hours care he needed to survive. But this marriage too, fell apart in 2006.
11 Hawking Believes in the Possible Existence of Aliens
Stephen Hawking is, in reality of the opinion that aliens exist somewhere out in the vast expanses of the universe. He also fears that an advanced alien race might possibly eradicate the human race.
12 He is loved by Television
Aside from being a great scholar Stephen Hawking has also acquired celebrity status owing to his numerous appearances on Television series and Movies. Some of the shows and movies he has been featured in are- The Big Bang Theory, Star Trek, The Simpsons, his biographical film, and the video version of A Brief History of Time. He has also appeared in advertisements such as National Savings, British Telecom, Go Compare, and Egg Banking.