Today’s video Doodle honours English cosmologist, author, and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, one of history’s most significant scientific minds. His theories on the origins and mechanics of the universe revolutionised modern physics, and his best-selling books made the field widely accessible to millions of readers around the world. From colliding black holes to the Big Bang, his theories on the origins and mechanics of the universe revolutionised modern physics, and his best-selling books made the field widely accessible to millions of readers worldwide.
On this day in 1942, Stephen William Hawking was born in Oxford, England. From a young age, he was fascinated by how the cosmos worked, and his curiosity and intellect earned him the moniker “Einstein.” Hawking was inspired to devote himself to physics, arithmetic, and cosmology after being diagnosed with a neurological condition at the age of 21 by the music of composer Richard Wagner and the loving support of his future wife Jane Wilde.
Hawking defended his doctoral thesis, “Properties of Expanding Universes,” at the University of Cambridge in 1965, which presented the revolutionary theory that space and time originated from a singularity, an infinitely small and dense point that is best known today as the key characteristic of black holes. Hawking was accepted as a research fellow at Cambridge’s Gonville and Caius College that year, which would be his academic home for the rest of his life. Hawking’s fascination with black holes led to the discovery in 1974 that particles may escape them. Hawking radiation, as the theory is known, is usually regarded as his most important contribution to physics.
Hawking’s groundbreaking work on black holes led to his appointment as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge in 1979, a position previously held by Isaac Newton in 1669. In 2017, Hawking’s doctoral thesis was made available to the public on a University of Cambridge website, which crashed due to high traffic.
Here’s to a visionary whose astronomical impact changed the way people think about the universe!