When given the opportunity to write about the lifespan development and personality of a famous figure, the first person who came to mind was Stephen Hawking. I must admit that prior to this assignment my knowledge regarding Professor Hawking was limited but I had respect for his accomplishments. I knew in basic terms that he was a leader in the field of theoretical cosmology and contributed to the mathematical support for the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe. I also knew he was confined to a wheel chair but I did not know the cause of his condition. Now I have to ask myself, what motivates Professor Hawking to accomplish such greatness? To provide a brief background of Stephen Hawking, he was born January 8, 1942 in Oxford England, exactly 300 years after the death of Galileo Galilei according to his personal web site (Hawking). Some of the key elements that I believe helped form and shape Professor Hawking's personality start with his childhood. He was considered a talent in mathematics and physics even at an early age. His father was busy with research into medicine, which I believe motivated him to follow in his fathers footsteps as a scientist. At the age of 17, he enrolled at University College and sought to study mathematics but opted for physics since math was not available at the time. When he was 21 he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and his physicians thought he may not live long enough to finish his doctorate. Hawking writes "although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found to my surprise that I was enjoying life in the present more than I had before. I began to make progress with my research." One reason he was progressing so well in his research was that he met the girl he wanted to marry. He realized he would need to complete his doctorate and get a job to support them. In the early 1980s he decided to write a book on cosmology. In 1984 he produced a first draft of "A Brief History of Time", but...
References: Hawking, S. Retrieved Feb 18, 2006, from http://www.hawking.org.uk/about/about.html.
O 'Connor, J. J., and Robertson, E. F. Retrieved Feb 17, 2006, from http://www-groups.dcs.st-and-ac.uk/~history/Mathematicians/Hawking.html.
Boslough, J. (1985). Stephen Hawking 's Universe, New York: Avon Books. ISBN 0-380-70763-2. A layman 's guide to Stephen Hawking.
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