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Stephen Hawking: What Made Him One of the Most Brilliant Scientists of All Time?

Stephen Hawking was a theoretical physicist and cosmologist who made significant contributions to our understanding of the universe. Despite being diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21 and given just a few years to live, Hawking went on to study at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, eventually earning his Ph.D. in physics. His work focused on understanding the properties of black holes, the origins of the universe and the fundamental laws of nature and he was able to make groundbreaking discoveries in these areas. In this post, we’ll explore what made Hawking one of the most brilliant scientists of all time, examining his early life and education, his intellectual accomplishments and the factors that contributed to his success.

Hawking’s Early Life and Education

Stephen Hawking was born in 1942 in Oxford, England. He excelled in his studies from an early age and was accepted into Oxford University at the age of 17 to study physics. After earning his degree, he went on to pursue a Ph.D. at Cambridge University. It was during his time at Cambridge that Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, a condition that affects the nerves that control muscle movement and can eventually lead to paralysis. Despite this diagnosis, Hawking was determined to continue his studies and eventually earned his Ph.D. in physics.

Hawking’s Intellectual Accomplishments

Throughout his career, Hawking made important contributions to the field of physics, particularly in the areas of black holes and the origins of the universe. He proposed the concept of Hawking radiation, which suggests that black holes can emit particles and eventually evaporate. He also developed the idea of cosmic inflation, which proposes that the universe underwent a period of rapid expansion shortly after the Big Bang. In addition to these contributions, Hawking was known for his ability to explain complex scientific concepts in a way that was accessible to people with little scientific background. His books, including “A Brief History of Time” and “The Universe in a Nutshell,” have been widely read and have helped to increase the public’s understanding of science.

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The Factors That Contributed to Hawking’s Success

There are several factors that contributed to Hawking’s success as a scientist. One was his determination and perseverance in the face of his illness. Despite being confined to a wheelchair and being unable to speak without the aid of a computer, Hawking was able to continue working and making important contributions to the field of physics. Another factor was his ability to think creatively and ask important questions. Hawking was known for his ability to come up with new ideas and theories that challenged conventional wisdom and opened up new areas of exploration. Finally, Hawking was able to communicate complex scientific concepts in a way that was accessible to a wide audience, helping to increase public understanding and interest in science.


In conclusion, Stephen Hawking was a brilliant scientist who made important contributions to our understanding of the universe. His intelligence, determination and curiosity played a key role in his success and his work has had a lasting impact on the field of physics and beyond. Despite facing significant challenges in his life, Hawking was able to overcome adversity and make a lasting impact on the world.

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