Stephen Hawking Essay

2964 words - 12 pages

Dr. Stephen Hawking is one of the most recognizable and influential scientists since Einstein. He was born on January 8, 1942, 300 years after the death of Galileo. As a child, he was always interested in science. He spent many days and nights looking up at the stars or making fireworks with his father. He also spent time making complicated board games with his friends (McDaniel 26-28). At the age of eight, his family moved to St. Albans, where he was enrolled at the St. Albans School. Although Hawking was not the best student, he went on to Oxford University in 1959, where he graduated with a degree in natural science three years later (Hawking 1). That same year, he went to Cambridge University to pursue his Ph.D. in cosmology, but was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) one year later, in 1963. This prompted him to work harder at his schoolwork, as he was only given two years to live. In 1965, Hawking married Jane Wilde, an undergraduate student majoring in world languages at Cambridge University. He became extremely interested in the work of Roger Penrose, a cosmologist who had just explained how black holes begin from collapsing stars ( 17). In 1974 Hawking made the discovery of Hawking radiation, which escapes from black holes. This is one of the most recognized and revolutionary discoveries in cosmology. Dr. Stephen Hawking positively changed the world scientifically and socially, despite being crippled by a deadly disease.
Although Dr. Hawking impacts many areas of science and cosmology, his work with black holes has revolutionized modern physics. He works in all areas of black holes, including how they work, singularities, and most importantly, Hawking radiation. Black holes are very simple objects, although the concept is not easy to embrace. They form when a star that has a mass three times larger than the sun collapses in on itself (McDaniel 14). This creates a hole that has an incredibly high amount of gravity. The gravitational pull is so strong in a black hole that not even light can escape (14). This is the main reason no human can see into a black hole. They also vary greatly in size. Some black holes can be as big as a galaxy, others the size of an atom (Cropper 456). However, the size does not Possibly the most interesting area in studying black holes is its singularity, or center. Singularities are a point of infinite density or gravity. The gravity is so intense that the laws of physics do not apply (McDaniel 51). This may be the most difficult part to grasp about black holes. Hawking and many other scientists agree that an explosion of one singularity created the universe (49). This is also known as the Big Bang, possibly the most controversial event in cosmological history. The explosion had the same amount of energy as one million nuclear bombs (Simplifying ideas). Dr. Hawking is also famous for his discovery of Hawking radiation. This is a very complicated subject that went...

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