Stephen Hawking was born on Stephen William Hawking was born on 8 January 1942 in Oxford, London. When he was eight, his family moved to St. Albans, a town about 20 miles north of London. At the age of eleven, Stephen went to St. Albans School and then on to University College, Oxford; his father's old college. Stephen wanted to study Mathematics, although his father would have preferred medicine. Mathematics was not available at University College, so he pursued Physics instead. After three years and not very much work, he was awarded a first class honors degree in Natural Science.
Hawking made his first major contribution to science with his idea of singularity, a work that grew out of his collaboration. A singularity is a place in either space or time at which some quantity becomes infinite (without an end). Such a place is found in a black hole, the final stage of a collapsed star, where the gravitational field has infinite strength. Penrose proved that a singularity could exist in the space-time of a real universe. Hawking's continuing examination of the nature of black holes led to two important discoveries. The first that black holes can give off heat opposed the claim that nothing could escape from a black hole. The second concerned the size of black holes. Hawking has indicated that he is almost certain that alien life exists in other parts of the universe and uses a mathematical basis for his assumptions. He believes alien life not only certainly exists on planets but perhaps even in other places, like within stars or even floating in outer space. He also warns that a few of these species might be intelligent and threaten Earth. Stephen Hawking was a rebel; he fought against the status quo with his mind. In 1975, Hawking received a medal from Pope Paul VI, as "a young scientist for distinguished work". There has been a long standing conflict between the Catholic Church and cosmology, going back to Galileo. When they went to the...
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