Stephen Hawking was one of the most famous and recognizable thinkers of the world. Up there with Einstein and Newton, his scientific findings are changing the world to this day. Here are five interesting facts about Hawking that don’t need to be proven with science.
He was born in 1942
Stephen Hawking was born right in the middle of World War II, in the same year as famous boxer Muhammed Ali, and singing legend Aretha Franklin. Hawking was born to one of Oxford college’s first female graduates, his mom Isobel, and a medical researcher, his dad Frank. His parents met at a medical institute where they both worked. Hawking also had two younger sisters. The family was one of enthusiastic scholars who read every night and kept bees in their basement.
He was known as ‘Einstein’ at school
Despite his immeasurable intelligence, Hawking was actually not very good in school. In his early years, he loved learning but did not show star potential in class. In later years, he gained the nickname of Einstein because of his brilliance in science. Hawking had always been interested in logical subjects like mathematics and physics. In fact, Hawking pursued a science degree at Oxford as it was not possible to study mathematics at the time.
He only started noticing his ALS at the end of college
During Hawking’s final year at Oxford, he noticed that he was becoming more and more clumsy. Over Christmas, his family noticed this as well as his speech became slurred. He was then diagnosed with ALS or motor neuron disease, in which the cells in his brain began to deteriorate. The more Hawking’s physical abilities declined, the more coping mechanisms he came up with. His ingenuity allowed him to persevere and become a household name. He even said these obstacles made him more determined to work hard.
He was married twice
Hawking’s first marriage was to Jane Wilde. He met her in 1963, and they got engaged shortly before the end of 1964. Hawking even said that the engagement gave him something to live for. The couple had three children during their marriage. While Hawking thought about physics, Jane maintained the household – a difficult task due to Hawking’s illness. After this got too much for her, the two hired a nurse to look after Hawking. By the 1980s, the two were unhappy in their marriage and the nursing was full-time which strained it further. One of these nurses became his second wife. Her name was Elaine Mason. Hawking then divorced Jane and married Elaine in 1995. He then said, “It’s wonderful – I have married the woman I love.”
He wanted to travel to space
In an interview in 2006, Hawking revealed in a BBC interview that his biggest wish was to travel to space. Richard Branson, the creator of Virgin, heard this and offered Hawking a free flight in one of Virgin’s space shuttles. He was most interested in raising awareness about space as it was his life’s work. Before passing on, Hawking got closer to his goal by experiencing the weightlessness of space through a simulation.
There is even a movie about this great scientist’s life events which shows what a huge impact he had on the science field. A truly great thinker who made a difference in every aspect of his life through determination and intelligence.