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Millinneum Evening Guest Lecturer Stephen Hawking

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Stephen Hawking is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University. He has been a member of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics since 1973. The Lucasian chair was founded in 1663 and was also held by Sir Isaac Newton. In his remarks, Professor Hawking will address, "Imagination and Change: Science in the Next Millennium" noting how science and technology will shape and be shaped by human knowledge.

Professor Hawking is a best-selling author of A Brief History of Time which has been translated into 33 languages has sold 9 million copies worldwide. Other publications include Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, The Large Scale Structure of Spacetime with G.F.R. Ellis; General Relativity: An Einstein Centenary Survey with W. Israel; 300 Years of Gravity with W. Israel; and The Nature of Space and Time with Roger Penrose. He also played the lead role in the six part BBC series, "Stephen Hawking's Universe" which has been broadcast in the United Kingdom and United States.

Stephen Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England. He did his undergraduate work at University College, Oxford but on graduation moved to Cambridge University to do research in cosmology (the particular area of Theoretical Physics which describes the evolution of the universe). He has been a fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge since 1965 and was a member of the Institute of Astronomy from 1968 to 1973.

Professor Hawking became a Commander of the British Empire in 1982 and was made a Companion of Honour by the Queen in 1989. He has twelve honorary degrees and is the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Hawking has conducted research into the fundamental laws which describe our universe. His first major contribution was to develop the idea that a consequence of Einstein's Theory of Relativity was that space and time began with a "Big Bang" and would end in black holes which emit radiation and would eventually evaporate and disappear. He recalls, "I started to think about black holes as I was getting into bed. My disability makes this rather a slow process, so I had plenty of time." He is also known for his 1983 "no boundary proposal" made with Jim Hartle of Santa Barbara.

Mr. Hawking has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS -- "Lou Gehrig's Disease"), a progressive motor neuron condition, which he first developed in his early twenties. He has succeeded in living far longer than his doctors predicted upon his diagnosis. He jokes that one of the major adjustments he has had to make was to accept that his speech simulator was programmed with an American accent! Mr. Hawking is married to Elaine Hawking and is the father of three children. He is also committed to helping people with disabilities, and to raising awareness of wheelchair access in society as a whole.

In response to those who see the value of scientific research only in terms of immediate industrial applications, Mr. Hawking responds, "There is another dimension to human existence apart from material comfort."

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The Second Millennium Evening with Stephen Hawking

Millinneum Evening Guest Lecturer Stephen Hawking

Q&As at Hawking Lecture