Sunday, March 18, 2018

Stephen Hawking 1942-2018

Stephen William Hawking, born January 8 1942 in Oxford, died March 14 2018 in Cambridge, was a British theoretical physicist and cosmologist.

Stephen Hawking was a mathematics teacher at the University of Cambridge from 1980 to 2009, member of Gonville and Caius College and researcher distinguished from Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He is known for his contributions in the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity, especially in the context of black holes. His success is also linked to his popular science books in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general, such as the bestseller A Brief History of Time, which remained on the list of Sunday Times bestselling records for 237 consecutive weeks.

Illness and continuation of this work

As soon as he arrived in Cambridge, he began to develop the symptoms of early amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a motor neuron disease that almost took away any neuromuscular control. During his first two years in Cambridge, he did not stand out, but after stabilizing his illness and with the help of his doctoral tutor, William Dennis Sciama, he is pursuing his doctoral thesis. He reveals that he did not see much interest in obtaining a doctorate if he were to die soon. Hawking later said that the real turning point was his marriage to Jane Wilde in 1965, a linguistics student. After completing his PhD, Stephen became a researcher at Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge. The study of singularities, a recent physical and astronomical concept, allows the researcher to develop different theories, which will later lead him from the Big Bang to black holes.

Private life

Jane Wilde Hawking, Hawking's first wife, took care of him until 1991, when the couple split up. They had three children: Robert (1967), Lucy (1969), and Timothy (1979). 1999 Jane Hawking published a memoir, Music to Move the Stars, detailing her own long-term relationship with a family friend with whom she will later marry. Hawking's daughter, Lucy, is a novelist. Their eldest son, Robert, emigrated to the United States where he is married, and had a child, George Edward Hawking. In 1995 Hawking married to his nurse, Elaine Mason, who had already been married to David Mason, the designer of the first version of Hawking's talking computer. In 2004, several reports are published. reports involving Elaine in mistreatment cases against her. In October 2006, Hawking filed for divorce from his second wife.

Research

Hawking's main areas of research were cosmology and quantum gravity. In the late 1960s, he and his friend and colleague from Cambridge, Roger Penrose, applied a new complex mathematical model, which they created upon Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity. This led Hawking to prove in 1970 the first of many theorems on singularities, such as theorems capable of providing a set of sufficient conditions for the existence of a singularity in space-time. This work has shown that, far from being a mathematical curiosity that only appears in particular cases, the singularities are rather generic in general relativity.

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