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Stephen Hawking: The life and times of one of the best-known theoretical physicist

The celebrated scientist dies at Cambridge at the age of 76. Here’s a look at his life.

world Updated: Mar 14, 2018 12:53 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press
Associated Press
Stephen Hawking‬,‪Scientist‬‬,Stephen Hawking death
Scientist Stephen Hawking with British actors Felicity Jones (L) and Eddie Redmayne (R) at the UK premiere of the film 'The Theory of Everything' in London in 2014. The film was based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, by Jane Hawking, the scientist’s first wife. (AFP file photo)

Stephen Hawking, whose brilliant mind ranged across time and space though his body was paralysed by disease, died early Wednesday, a University of Cambridge spokesman said. He was 76 years old.

A glance at the life of the celebrated physicist:

Jan. 8, 1942 : Born in Oxford, England, the eldest of four children born to Frank Hawking, a biologist, and Isobel Hawking, a medical research secretary.

1952 : Attends St. Albans School.

1959 : Receives scholarship to attend University College, Oxford, from which he graduates with a degree in Natural Science.

1962 : Begins graduate research in cosmology at Cambridge University.

1963 : Diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disorder ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, at the age of 21. He is given two years to live.

July 14, 1965 : Marries his first wife, Jane Wilde, a modern languages student he met at Cambridge.

1967: The couple’s first son, Robert, is born.

1970 : Jane gives birth to a daughter, Lucy.

1974 : Elected as a fellow of the Royal Society at age 32, one of the youngest people to receive the honor.

1979 : Becomes Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, a prestigious position once held by Isaac Newton. Hawking holds the post until 2009. Jane gives birth to a third child, Timothy.

1985 : Admitted to a hospital in Geneva with pneumonia. He survives after an operation, but loses what remained of his speech. The next year he begins communicating through the electronic voice synthesizer that gave him his trademark robotic “voice.”

1988 : Publishes “A Brief History of Time,” a book on cosmology aimed at the general public that becomes an instant best-seller.

1989 : Made a Companion of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II.

1995 : Divorces Jane, marries his nurse, Elaine Mason.

2007 : Divorces Elaine Mason.

2014: Hawking’s life is celebrated in the Oscar-winning biopic “The Theory of Everything,” based on the memoir “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen,” by Jane Hawking.

2015: Helps launch Breakthrough Initiatives, an effort to search for extraterrestrial life.

First Published: Mar 14, 2018 11:21 IST