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Stephen William Hawking was born on 8 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 Oxford was considered a safer place to have babies When he was eight his family moved to St Albans a town about 20 miles north of London At eleven Stephen went to St Albans School and then on to University College Oxford his fathers old college Stephen wanted to do Mathematics although his father would have preferred medicine Mathematics was not available at University College so he did Physics instead After three years and not very much work he was awarded a first class honours degree in Natural Science Stephen then went on to Cambridge to do research in Cosmology there being no-one working in that area in Oxford at the time His supervisor was Denis Sciama although he had hoped to get Fred Hoyle who was working in Cambridge After gaining his PhD he became first a Research Fellow and later on a Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College After leaving the Institute of Astronomy in 1973 Stephen came to the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and since 1979 has held the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics The chair was founded in 1663 with money left in the will of the Reverend Henry Lucas who had been the Member of Parliament for the University It was first held by Isaac Barrow and then in 1663 by Isaac Newton Stephen Hawking is perhaps best known for his discovery in 1974 that black holes emit radiation and for his no boundary proposal made in 1983 with Jim Hartle of Santa Barbara His many publications include The Large Scale Structure of Spacetime with G F R Ellis General Relativity An Einstein Centenary Survey with W Israel and 300 Years of Gravity with W Israel Stephen
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