Stephen Hawking was born on January, 8 1942 in Oxford, where his parents moved from London concerned about bombing by German aircraft.
Father is Frank Hawking, a former researcher at the medical center in Hampstead. Mother, Isabelle Hawking, worked there as a secretary. Two younger sisters - Philipa and Mary, and an adopted brother, Edward, grew up with Stephen.
In 1962 he graduated from Oxford University (B.A. degree), and earned Ph.D. in Trinity College of Cambridge University in 1966. From 1965 Hawking works at Cambridge University. So, in 1968-1972 he worked at Institute of Theoretical Astronomy, in 1972-1973 at Institute of Astronomy, in 1973-1975 at the Department of Applied mathematics and theoretical physics, in 1975-1977 he taught the gravitation theory, in 1977-1979 he was Professor of gravitational physics, from 1979 he is Professor of mathematics. In 1974-1975 he was a fellow at California Institute of Technology.
In 1965 he married Jane Wilde, later they had a daughter and two sons. In 1974 Hawking became a member of the Royal Society of London. Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009.
Already in the early 1960s Hawking began to show signs of amyotrophic sclerosis, which has led to paralysis. In 1985 Stephen Hawking was seriously ill with pneumonia. After a series of operations, he was removed trachea and lost the ability to speak. Friends gave him a speech synthesizer, which was mounted on his wheelchair. The index finger on his right hand kept some mobility only. Subsequently, the mobility remained only in cheek facial muscle, opposite which the sensor is fixed. With its help the physicist controls the computer, allowing him to communicate with others.
Stephen’s relationship with Jane gradually became worse, and in 1991 they began to live separately, and later divorced.
In 1995 Hawking married his nurse, Elaine Mason, with whom he lived for 11 years. In October 2006 they divorced.
Despite serious illness, he has busy life. On April 26, 2007 he took flight in zero gravity on a special plane, and in 2009 he scheduled a flight into space. Hawking says about him that as a Professor of mathematics he has never received any mathematical education since high school. In his first year of teaching in Oxford Hawking read the textbook ahead of his own students for two weeks.
He is one of the most influential and well-known theoretical physicists of our time.
Main research area of Hawking is cosmology and quantum gravity. His main achievements are:
application of thermodynamics to the description of black holes;
development of the theory that black holes “evaporate” due to the phenomenon called Hawking radiation in 1975;
on July 21, 2004 Hawking presented a paper in which he outlined his views on the resolution of the information disappearance paradox in a black hole.
He is one of the founders of quantum cosmology.
In 1974 Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne made a playful bet (annual subscription to the magazine “Penthouse” in case of Torn’s victory against a four-year subscription to the magazine “Private Eye” in case of Hawking’s victory) about the nature of the object Cygnus X-1 and the nature of its radiation. Hawking put in opposition to his theories based on the existence of black holes, that Cygnus X-1 is not a black hole (as he said, “even if I'm not wrong, I’ll win a subscription to the magazine”). He acknowledged defeat in 1990, when observations have strengthened confidence in the presence of gravitational singularity in the system.
In 1997 Hawking in pairs with Kip Thorne made a bet with John Preskill, Professor at California Institute of Technology and Director of Institute of Quantum Information, about the issue of information preserving about the matter, previously captured by the black hole and subsequently rejected it. Professor Preskill believed that the black hole radiation carries information, but we can't decipher it. Professor Hawking believed according to his theory of 1975 that this information is basically impossible to detect, because it splits off in a parallel Universe, completely inaccessible and absolutely unknowable to us.
In August 2004 at International conference on general relativity and cosmology in Dublin Professor Hawking presented a revolutionary theory of black holes and said that Professor Preskill was right, and he and Thorne were wrong. The report concludes that the black hole distorts the swallowed information, but doesn’t destroy it completely. In the end, in the process of black hole evaporation information nevertheless frees from its embrace. As usual, trying to intrigue listeners, not ready to accept the wisdom of quantum, Hawking advised fans of science fiction to give up the dream that dive into the black hole can be throw to another Universe. However, Professor Preskill noticed that he missed the Hawking’s arguments, although, of course, he was glad to win the encyclopedia. Third party of dispute Professor Thorne said that he didn't agree with Hawking.
The popularization of science
Hawking is actively engaged in the popularization of science. In April 1988 he published a book “A brief history of time”, which became a bestseller.
Then the books “Black holes and young universes” (1993) and “The World in a nut shell” (2001) were published. In 2005 he published a new edition of “A Brief history…” that is “The briefest history of time”, co-written with Leonard Mlodinow. In 2006 together with his daughter Lucy Hawking he wrote a book for children “George and the secrets of the universe”.
A lecture by Stephen Hawking brought the house down in the White house in March 1998, when he gave the scientific predictions for next Millennium by invitation of President Clinton (in general, the forecast was optimistic). In 2003 Hawking spoke more pessimistic in interview. According to the scientist, a man should quickly move to other planets, or he will die from the virus on the Earth.
Hawking was one of the signers of the “Project Steve” Declaration in support of the evolution theory and for preventing the teaching of creationism in public schools of the USA.
There were popular scientific films with the Hawking’s participation on TV: a six-episode series “Stephen Hawking's Universe” (1997) and a three-episode series “Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking” (2010). In 2013 he released his third book about space and time “The universe of Stephen Hawking”.