The academic work of Stephen Hawking is known to many. As a physicist, his concepts on black holes, dimensional theory, and physical concepts have helped to redefine how we see science. Not bad for a man who has suffered from an early onset slow moving form of ALS that has progressively paralyzed him since the 1960s.
1. To Boldly Go
Stephen Hawking is a huge fan of the show Star Trek. When episodes of The Next Generation were being filmed, he wanted to be included in the show in some way. In an episode where the android character Data is on the holodeck conversing with famous scientists from different eras, Hawking is included.
2. Terrible In School
Many consider Hawking to be one of the most intelligent people on the planet today. When he was the age of 9, however, he had some of the worst grades in his class. The problem was that young Hawking was more interested in how things worked than learning from books.
3. A Popular Coxswain
Stephen Hawking was never someone who would be described as being athletically built. He was isolated at Oxford, however, so he decided to join the rowing team. They made him a coxswain, or someone who controlled the strokes and steering of the boat, and it made Hawking a popular figure on campus.
4. The Idea of No Boundaries
For decades, scientists were trying to get a grasp of what the universe was like. Hawking’s major achievement, shared with a fellow physicist named Jim Hartle, was to theorize that the universe doesn’t actually have a boundary at all. An interesting consequence to Hawking’s theory would be that if it were true, then theoretically time could move backwards if the universe began to collapse upon itself.
5. No Nobel Prize
Over the course of his career, Hawking has been awarded a dozen honorary degrees, numerous medals for science, and he has been inducted in the Royal Society since 1974. Yet for all of these awards, he has never been awarded a Nobel Prize for his work.
Stephen Hawking isn’t 100% right all of the time, but his theories have revolutionized science. He may have lost a bet on black holes in 2004 regarding whether or not information can escape them, but overall his track record of success is nothing short of outstanding.