25 Inspiring Facts About Stephen Hawking

Posted by , Updated on March 25, 2024

Stephen Hawking embodied the essence of a contemporary Albert Einstein. Guided by the strength of his brilliance, he unmasked numerous secrets surrounding the universe. Undeniably, his contributions have significantly progressed society in innumerable aspects.

And, despite his debilitating disease, Hawking was also a prolific writer, speaker, and pop-culture personality. He made it his goal to make science more accessible to everyone. Sadly, he passed away on March 14th, 2018 at the age of 76.

Ready to expand your mind about one of the greatest geniuses of our time? Here are 25 Inspiring Facts About Stephen Hawking You Probably Didn’t Know.



He loved math at a young age, but his father wanted him to study medicine. He eventually studied Physics at Oxford because mathematics wasn't a major.

oxfordSource: https://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/famous-scientists/physicists/10-cool-things-stephen-hawking2.htm

He didn't learn to read well until he was 8, and by his own words, was a lazy student all the way through Oxford.

stephen hawking 2Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1322807/Stephen-Hawking-I-didnt-learn-read-8-lazy-student.html

He was born on Galileo's 300th death anniversary and died on Albert Einstein's birthday.

galileoSource: https://www.scoopwhoop.com/stephen-hawkin-facts/#.awguryq6b

In 1963, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and should have only survived 3 years, but he lived on for another fifty years instead.

stephen hawking 1Source: https://www.cnn.com/2013/04/29/world/europe/stephen-hawking-fast-facts/index.html

He dreamed of writing a physics book that the general public could understand and wrote it with his speech synthesizer and assistance from his students. The result was "A Brief History of Time," published in 1988.

stephen hawkingSource: https://www.biography.com/news/stephen-hawking-biography-facts

After undergoing a tracheotomy, he lost his voice and required 24-hour care. Thankfully in 1985, a Californian computer programmer caught wind of his condition and made a computer to help him speak with his head and eye movement.

stephen hawking custom pcSource: https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/stephen-hawking-5456.php

Hawking married twice. The first was the mother of his three children, but that ended in divorce in 1990. He left his wife for his nurse, Elaine Mason. However, she filed for divorce with him in 2006.

stephen hawkingSource: http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/people/stephen-hawking-his-wives-and-sycophantic-admirers/news-story/9dd8369b36370a0db78b09ef684ca07d

To prove backward time travel probably wasn't possible, Stephen Hawking hosted a party for time travelers, and no one came, which was the point. He even sent invitations after the party ended.

hawking time travel partySource: https://mashable.com/2018/03/14/stephen-hawking-time-travel-party/#BSlz1EzCbiqc

His PhD doctoral thesis was called "Properties of the Expanding Universe." It basically tried to show how the universe could be created in mathematical terms, starting with the big bang. When it was made available online, the website hosting the thesis crashed.

universe expansionSource: https://theconversation.com/stephen-hawkings-phd-thesis-crashed-its-host-website-heres-what-it-says-in-simple-terms-86351

Hawking claimed to be an atheist and didn't believe in a personal God, heaven, or the afterlife. Despite this, he still claimed the universe and life had meaning.

stephen hawking and godSource: http://time.com/5199149/stephen-hawking-death-god-atheist/

Not only was he a famous scientist, but he also appeared on several television shows, including Star Trek, The Simpsons, and The Big Bang Theory.

star trekSource: http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/stephen-hawking/credits/175324/

Hawking was very vocal about how the world would end. Of his theories, he claimed artificial intelligence, nuclear war, pandemics, climate change, or over-population will end humanity. As such, he was a big proponent of finding a new planet to live on.

end of the worldSource: https://www.mirror.co.uk/science/stephen-hawking-predicted-end-world-11766792

At the age of 65, he flew up in a space shuttle to experience zero gravity. He was weightless for a total of four minutes.

stephen hawking zero gSource: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11730-stephen-hawking-gets-taste-of-zero-gravity/

He has an equation named after him called "Hawking's Equation." The formula is a centerpiece for our understanding of black holes. He said he wants it engraved on his tombstone.

hawkings equationSource: http://www.iflscience.com/physics/stephen-hawking-asked-to-have-his-most-famous-equation-on-his-tombstone/

Along with Jim Hartle, he came up with the Boundless Universe Theory in 1983. It claims the universe has no boundaries but is also a contained entity.

universeSource: https://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/famous-scientists/physicists/10-cool-things-stephen-hawking5.htm

He made a bet with fellow physicist John Preskill in 1997 that information was lost in black holes. Preskill disagreed and said information can escape them. In 2004, Hawkings admitted he was wrong.

John_PreskillSource: https://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/famous-scientists/physicists/10-cool-things-stephen-hawking6.htm

In 1985, he suffered a bout of pneumonia and almost died. His doctors offered to take him off life support, but his wife refused. Thankfully, he survived and recovered enough to finish "A Brief History of Time."

Life_SupportSource: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jul/28/stephen-hawking-doctors-life-support

He received several awards and distinctions, including the Albert Einstein Award, the Hughes Medal from the Royal Society, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.

Barack_Obama_speaks_to_Stephen_HawkingSource: https://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/famous-scientists/physicists/10-cool-things-stephen-hawking7.htm

He's also a children's book author. He and his daughter Lucy co-wrote a series of children's books; the first one is called, "George's Secret Key to the Universe." Four more books were published in the series.

stephen and lucy hawkingSource: http://metro.co.uk/2018/03/14/stephen-hawkings-daughter-lucy-hawking-age-childrens-books-husband-son-7386323/

While he didn't believe in God, he did think other evolved extraterrestrials exist. He did warn, however, that if they ever visited us, it might not turn out so well for humanity.

ufoSource: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-14/stephen-hawking-on-aliens-black-holes-and-trump/9547728

He once claimed if humanity ever figured out how to harness the power of a black hole, we could easily power all of earth's power grid.

black holeSource: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/stephen-hawking-humanity-could-make-black-holes-into-power-stations-a6855866.html

He, among other physicists like Neil deGrasse Tyson, supported the "multiverse" theory, which suggests we are just one of several parallel universes out among the cosmos.

MultiverseSource: http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/scientists-find-what-could-be-the-first-proof-of-parallel-universes

He earned $3 million dollars after winning the Special Fundamental Physics Prize for his large body of work.

hawkingSource: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/dec/10/stephen-hawking-physics-prize

It's estimated by the London Evening Standard that his net worth was $6.9 million, most of which came from the sales of his books.

hawking net worthSource: http://www.newsweek.com/what-was-stephen-hawkings-new-worth-843892

Undoubtedly a genius of the modern age, Hawkings IQ is unknown. He once said in an interview with The New York Times after they asked him about his IQ, “I have no idea. People who boast about their IQ are losers.”

hawking iqSource: http://www.newsweek.com/what-stephen-hawkings-iq-score-late-physicist-called-people-who-care-losers-843895

Photo: 1. PROthierry ehrmann, Stephen Hawking, painted portrait _DDC2379, CC BY 2.0, 2. Intel Free Press, Stephen Hawking with New Computer2, CC BY-SA 2.0 , 3. Intel Free Press, Stephen Hawking with New Computer, CC BY-SA 2.0 , 4. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 5. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 6. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 7. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 8. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 9. Fathergoosemusic, Life Support, CC BY-SA 4.0 , 10. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 11. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 12. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 13. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 14. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 15. Twitter.com (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 16. Lwp Kommunikáció, Az univerzum, ahogy Stephen Hawking látja, CC BY 2.0, 17. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 18. Lwp Kommunikáció, Az univerzum, ahogy Stephen Hawking látja, CC BY 2.0, 19. Billy Bob Bain, Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane in 1965, CC BY 2.0, 20. Intel Free Press, Stephen Hawking's Custom PC, CC BY 2.0 , 21. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 22. Lwp Kommunikáció, Az univerzum, ahogy Stephen Hawking látja, CC BY 2.0, 23. wikimedia commons (Public Domain), 24. Lwp Kommunikáció, Hawking - Egy zseni élete, CC BY 2.0, 25. Diliff, Keble College Chapel - Oct 2006, CC BY-SA 3.0