Professor Stephen Hawking, one of Oxford University’s most famous alumni, returned for a flying visit this week.
The world renowned theoretical physicist gave the inaugural address for the Oxford University Mathematical Institute’s Roger Penrose Public Lecture series, which is running in recognition of Professor Penrose’s lifetime contribution across the mathematical sciences.
Demand for a seat at Professor Hawking’s talk was so high that it was broadcast live on Oxford’s Facebook page, after tickets sold out in record time.
Together, Professor Hawking and Penrose famously showed that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity implied space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes.
Despite being diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease at just 21, Professor Hawking has gone on to achieve international acclaim, with 12 honorary degrees and a Fellowship of the Royal Society. A Professor at Cambridge University’s Department for Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics, he also studied Physics at Oxford University.
His popular books include A Brief History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell and Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays.
Welcoming Professor Hawking to the stage, Roger Penrose remarked: ‘I can’t think of anybody who needs less of an introduction than Stephen’.
About Professor Stephen Hawkings
Stephen William Hawking, CH CBE FRS FRSA was born 8 January 1942; is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. His scientific works include a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He is a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.
Hawking is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the US. In 2002, Hawking was ranked number 25 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009 and has achieved commercial success with works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general; his book A Brief History of Time appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.
Hawking has a rare early-onset, slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that has gradually paralysed him over the decades. He now communicates using a single cheek muscle attached to a speech-generating device.
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sources: Wiki and Oxford News.