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Stephen Hawking Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 12:14 PM EST, Tue December 31, 2013
BEIJING - JUNE 21: British scientist Stephen Hawking attends a conference during the 2006 International Conference on String Theory on June 21, 2006 in Beijing, China. Hawking is visiting Beijing to attend the conference on the riddle of string theory which, if solved, could help unlock the mysteries of black holes and the creation of the universe, according to reports. (Photo by Cancan Chu/Getty Images)
BEIJING - JUNE 21: British scientist Stephen Hawking attends a conference during the 2006 International Conference on String Theory on June 21, 2006 in Beijing, China. Hawking is visiting Beijing to attend the conference on the riddle of string theory which, if solved, could help unlock the mysteries of black holes and the creation of the universe, according to reports. (Photo by Cancan Chu/Getty Images)

(CNN) -- Here's a look at the life of the world renowned theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astronomer, and mathematician, Stephen Hawking.

Personal:
Birth date: January 8, 1942

Birthplace: Oxford, England (grew up in and around London)

Birth name: Stephen William Hawking

Father: Frank Hawking, a doctor and research biologist.

Mother: E. Isobel Hawking

Marriages: Elaine Mason (1995 - 2006, divorce); Jane Wilde (1965 - 1991, divorce)

Children: with Jane Wilde: Timothy (1979); Lucy (1970); Robert (1967)

Education: Oxford University, B.A., 1962; Cambridge University, Ph.D., 1966

Other Facts:
Stephen Hawking's birthday (January 8, 1942) is the 300th anniversary of the death of astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei.

He is the seventeenth Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, an academic chair at Cambridge University. From 1669 to 1702, the position was held by Sir Isaac Newton.

Has guest-starred, as himself, on "The Big Bang Theory", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "The Simpsons" and on British television in addition to many documentaries.

Lou Gehrig's Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS), is usually fatal after three years. Hawking has survived it for 50 years.

The disease has left him paralyzed and completely dependent on others and/or technology for everything: bathing, dressing, eating, mobility, and speech. He's able to move only a few fingers on one hand.

His speech synthesizer has an American accent.

If given the chance to meet either Sir Isaac Newton or Marilyn Monroe, he said his choice would be Marilyn.

Timeline:
1963 - Is diagnosed with the motor neuron disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

1966 - Completes doctoral work in theoretical physics, submitting a thesis on black holes.

1970 - Combines the theory of relativity with quantum theory and finds that black holes emit radiation.

1979 - Becomes the seventeenth Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University.

1982 - Awarded CBE - Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

1985 - Hospitalized with pneumonia requires an emergency tracheotomy, causing permanent damage to the larynx and vocal cords. A keyboard operated electronic speech synthesizer is refined and adapted to his wheelchair by David Mason, an engineer married to Elaine Mason, one of Hawking's nurses (and future wife).

1988 - His book, "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes", an attempt at explaining how the universe began is published.

2004 - Reverses the 1966 theory that black holes swallow everything in their path forever and declares that black holes will never support space travel to other universes.

March 2004 - Police complete investigation finding no proof of the allegations made by daughter Lucy of abuse and repeated assaults against her father by his then wife, Elaine Hawking.

April 26, 2007 - Becomes the first quadriplegic to experience zero gravity, aboard a Zero Gravity Corporation flight.

October 2007 - "George's Secret Key to the Universe", a children's sci-fi novel to explain the universe, written with daughter Lucy is published. The book is the first in a trilogy.

November 30, 2008 - Is appointed by the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario to be its first Distinguished Research Chair.

May 19, 2009 - "George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt", the second in the series of children's sci-fi novels written with daughter Lucy, is published.

July 30, 2009 - Is awarded the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

September 30, 2009 - Steps down as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University after 30 years. Hawking will continue to work at the university.

2009-present - Director of Research at the Institute for Theoretical Cosmology at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University.

September 7, 2010 - New book "The Grand Design", written with Leonard Mlodinow, is published.

August 28, 2012 - "George and the Big Bang", the third and final installment in a series of children's books written with daughter Lucy, is published.

December 2012 - Wins the Fundamental Physics Prize and is awarded $3 million for his theory on black holes emitting energy.

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