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Stephen Hawking Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: April DeBord

April has taught Spanish and English as a Second Language and she has her Ed. S. in Foreign Language Education.

Stephen Hawking is one of the most famous scientists of the 21st century! His knowledge of science and mathematics earned him the nickname Einstein when he was in high school. Let's learn more about this amazing scientist.

Stephen Hawking: Early Life and College

On January 8th, 1942, Stephen Hawking was born to a successful family in Oxford, England. He was not the best student, but he was very smart. His dad wanted him to become a medical doctor, but Stephen really wanted to study math.

Despite his poor grades, Stephen aced his exams for college. He was admitted to Oxford University, but they didn't have math as a major. He decided to major in physics and chemistry instead. Physics is the study of matter (all of the stuff around us), energy, and the relationship between them. Chemistry is the study of matter and and how it changes, combines with, and interacts with other matter.

Stephen became a member of a rowing team when he was in college. After he graduated college, he decided to continue his education and went to graduate school to get his Ph.D., the highest university degree available.

Graduate School, Marriage and Health Problems

While in graduate school, he had some health problems. He began tripping for no reason, and his speech became hard to understand. His family encouraged him to go to the doctor. Stephen was diagnosed with a disease called ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, which affects your brain and your spine. Stephen would slowly lose his ability to walk and speak, and he would be confined to a wheelchair. The doctors also told him he may not have long to live.

During this time Stephen had a relationship with a woman named Jane. He said she and his work were his inspiration for living. Stephen earned his Ph.D. degree, but he eventually became confined to his wheelchair. He and Jane married in 1965 and were able to have three children.

He studied how space and time are related, including the scientific study of black holes in space and how they work in the universe. He also had a lot of success in his work as a college professor.

Stephen Hawking at NASA, 1980
Stephen Hawking

A New Voice and a New Book

In 1985, Stephen got really sick and doctors were able to save him, but he was unable to speak. He could only use his eyebrows to communicate. Eventually, he was able to use a special voice synthesizer, allowing him to talk by moving his cheek muscles and using a mouse pad.

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