The Contribution of Stephen Hawking

Topics: Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Pages: 3 (767 words) Published: November 13, 2013
The Contribution of Stephen hawking
18 October 2011

Stephen Hawking is a genius. He became a leading figure in cosmology and quantum mechanics in a short period of time. He did this while battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He is mostly known for his work in developing the understanding of the way black holes behave, as well as the origins of the universe. He was popularized when A Brief History of Time was released, which described his life and what he had accomplished.

Hawking was gifted in science from the very start. He deduced by himself that the universe was expanding when he noticed that the stars had red shifts. The Doppler effect was conventionally used to describe sound. It explained why a sound increased in pitch (frequency) when moving closer to a person and decreased when moving away. When applied to light, a red shift means that the frequency is decreasing, meaning that the star is moving away from the Earth. If everything was moving away from the Earth, then the universe must be expanding. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Oxford. He barely put in any effort, but was clearly much more intelligent than his peers. He then studied at the University of Cambridge. Soon after, he began to develop ALS (A Brief…).

Hawking was diagnosed with ALS in 1963, when he was twenty-one years old while he was working on his PhD. He was told that he had two and a half years to live. ALS is a degenerative motor disease that causes one to lose control of movement throughout the body. In 1985 he caught pneumonia and had a tracheotomy, causing him to lose whatever was left of his speech. A scientist at Cambridge had developed a voice synthesizer that was connected to his wheelchair, allowing Hawking to still be able to communicate. His condition was a wake up call, and caused him to really apply himself. Prior to this he had never really put forth effort, because to him nothing seemed worth trying. Rather than let his disease hold...

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