Stephen William Hawking was born on the 8th of January 1942 (300 years after the death of Galileo) in Oxford, England. His parents’ house was in north London, but during the second world war, his family moved to Oxford for safety reasons. When he was eight, his family moved to St. Albans, a town about 20 miles north of London. At the age of eleven, he went to St. Albans School and then on to the University of Oxford , his father’s former university. Hawking wanted to study Mathematics, although his father would have preferred medicine. However, Mathematics was not available there at the time, so he pursued Physics instead. After three years he was awarded a first class honours degree in Natural Science.
Hawking then went on to Cambridge to do research in Cosmology, there being not much work in that area in Oxford at the time
After leaving the Institute of Astronomy in 1973, Hawking came to the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics in 1979, and held the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics from 1979 until 2009 (also held by Sir Isaac Newton in 1669).
Hawking continued to do work on quantum gravity and general relativity and is considered to be one of the best theoretical physicists since Einstein.
In 1963, Hawking contracted motor neurone disease and was given two years to live. Yet he defied all odds and proved doctors wrong.
Happy 75th Birthday professor!