Stephen Hawking is a British scientist, professor and author who has produced innovative work in physics and cosmology, and whose books have helped to make science easily accessible. Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of Motor Neurone Disease, at the age of 21 while pursuing a degree at the University of Cambridge. The disease led him to be wheelchair bound and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication.
Hawking’s disease helped him to become a noted scientist he is today. Upon the realisation that he may not live long enough to complete his PhD, he became immersed in his work and research. After gaining his PhD, he became a Research Fellow and later on a Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caicus College. Hawking now holds the title of the Dennis Staton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. With the help of his assistants, Hawking managed to write and produce numerous publications including scientific papers and information for the non-scientific community.
His many publications include The Large Scale Structure of Spacetime with G F R Ellis, General Relativity: An Einstein Centenary Survey, with W Israel, and 300 Years of Gravity, with W Israel. One of the latest academic journals published by Hawking include the Properties of expanding universes. Among the popular books Stephen Hawking has published are his best seller A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, The Universe in a Nutshell, The Grand Design and My Brief History.
Hawking has a total of twelve honorary degrees. He was awarded the CBE in 1982, and was made a Companion of Honour in 1989. He is also the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.