APS News

Stephen Hawking 1942-2018

Internationally renowned physicist dies at 76

March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking, perhaps second only to Albert Einstein as the world’s most well-known physicist, died on March 14 in Cambridge UK. Among his peers, he was celebrated for his work on black holes and cosmology, and he was known the world over for his public lectures and explanations of science for general audiences. His book “A Brief History of Time” sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

Hawking received his undergraduate degree in 1962 from the University of Oxford and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in 1966. Cambridge recently made his thesis, entitled “Properties of Expanding Universes,” openly available online. In the 1960s, Hawking published seminal papers on gravitational singularities, including “Occurrence of Singularities in Open Universes” in Physical Review Letters. In 1974, he showed that black holes can emit what is now known as Hawking radiation.

While carrying out his doctoral research, Hawking was diagnosed with degenerative motor neuron disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Doctors gave him only a few years to live, but the disease slowed; in later years, he worked and lectured from his wheelchair using text-to-speech synthesizers. During his career, he was an active researcher and advised 39 doctoral students. In the 1990s, Hawking began fundraising and advocating for the rights of people with disabilities.

Hawking received many accolades during his lifetime, including becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society at age 32. In 1976, he won the APS/AIP Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics. He was elected Lucasian Professor at Cambridge in 1979, the chair held by Isaac Newton. Hawking received the APS Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize in 1999, and in 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama awarded Hawking the Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the government. His life story was the subject of the 2014 film “The Theory of Everything.”

Free to Read Physical Review Articles

APS has made all of Stephen Hawking’s research published in the Physical Review journals free to read online.

APS Statement on Stephen Hawking

Read the statement from the APS Presidential Line on the passing of Stephen Hawking.

Hawking
NASA

News Update Archive

View Archive


APS News

Read Current Issue


Recent News Update
APS Sharpens Focus on Ethical Conduct in Physics
New policies and procedures hold APS honor recipients and leaders accountable to ethical standards
APS Releases New Report: Building America’s STEM Workforce
APS has released a new report that provides recommendations to strengthen the nation’s STEM workforce.
Black History Month: A Reflection on Einstein’s Opinions About Racism and African-Americans
The APS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group asked 2021 APS President S. James Gates for his thoughts during Black History Month.
Beverley McKeon and Eric Lauga Selected as Lead Editors for Physical Review Fluids
APS has appointed Beverley McKeon (California Institute of Technology) and Eric Lauga (University of Cambridge) as Lead Editors for the Physical Review Fluids as of February 1, 2021. They take the helm following the journal's founding Editors John Kim and Gary Leal.
APS Applauds President-elect Biden’s Recently Announced White House Science Team
The Society is encouraged by the Biden Administration selecting a diverse team of highly respected science and policy experts ready to serve on day one and stands ready to work with them on the challenges facing the scientific community and the nation more broadly.
APS Joins the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge
On January 11, APS CEO Jonathan Bagger joined more than 1,600 other chief executives and organization presidents in signing the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge.