Born on 8th January, Stephen Hawking is a name to reckon with. If it is the field of astrophysics, he is one of the brightest minds the world has. A lot has been written about his work and his extraordinary mind but we are sure you might never have heard about the following facts:
Hawking was a poor student: Yes, today the world may sing praises of his intellect and mind, but there was a time in his early school days when he was a poor student. He consistently had low grades and could manage to raise himself to average grades by the time he was in middle school. Though according to this official biography, his teachers and peers always felt that he had a spark of genius. He had earned the name of ‘Einstein’ owing to his brash behaviour and self confidence.
He can use his cheek muscles in an efficient manner: Hawking has suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease since the age of 21, a condition that causes his muscular nerves to degenerate. Though this condition gradually lost him the use of his hand, in 2005 he began to control his communication device with movements of his cheek muscles.
He has penned a children’s book: Hawking’s ‘A brief History of Time’ is a well known book. Anybody who knows about him; knows about the book. But what people don’t know is that Hawking co-authored a book with his daughter Lucy titled George’s Secret Key to the Universe. It’s a fiction story about a boy who gets rebellious against his parents distaste for technology, and befriends his neighbour, who owns a powerful computer that can open portals to outer space.
He believes in aliens: Stephen Hawking is a firm believer in the possibility of advanced alien forms of life habiting some planet in the far-far universe. In 2015 he helped launched a group called “Breakthrough Initiatives”, which uses powerful instruments to comb our galaxy and those nearer to us for any broadcasts; signals from an alien race trying to contact us.
He threw a party for time travellers: It was in 2009 that Hawking threw a very strange party. The party was open to anybody who knew about it. So precisely anybody could go attend that party even those who didn’t know him or whom he didn’t know. And surprisingly, Hawking sent out invitations for the party ‘after’ it got over. It was later revealed that he was actually hoping to meet any time travellers who got any inkling about his party. So, along with alien life, he also believes in time travel too!
He doesn’t support Artificial Intelligence: He is one of those people who believe that progress in AI should have social benefits, and should be careful and controlled. He worries that the rampant advancement of artificial intelligence can be the death of humans. He is of the view that efforts in the field of AI should ensure that its progress should not harm civilization in a way that it changes the way we know it.
He never got a Nobel: Despite his brilliant theories and his spectacular body of work, Hawking has never received the most prestigious Nobel Prize. He does have a number of other accolades to his name, however, such as being made a Commander of the British Empire in the 1980’s, a rank just under a knight of the UK.