Stephen Hawking Essay

1329 words - 6 pages

Stephen Hawking, Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist, Author, educator and social leader leads a life of intellectual adventure that has marked his place in history. While his theories and scientific contributions are well documented, there is much to learn and emulate from the personal context of his life. These personal attributes and adventures are an integrated part of his contribution as a leader among his peers. In his brash way he has challenged friend and adversary alike to go beyond their scientific positions and his own as well. His leadership qualities were demonstrated early in his life at college where he was a coaxer for his sculling team, during his life as a challenging ...view middle of the document...

It is said that invention and innovation is 10 % inspiration and 90% perspiration. Stephen Hawking certainly puts his shoulder to the wheel despite his disabilities. He has survived well past what the medical community predicted. In his personal relationships with friends and his family, he transcends the emotional responses to disappointment, disagreement and even divorce retaining friendship and collaboration in the common interest of advancing the mission of knowledge. The practical summation of a life of acquiring knowledge about the universe of places and people is his mission to support the exploration and development of space. He believes that we will understand the necessity for and be living on the Moon within the next fifty years and has so stated at the 2014 Explorers Club reception last week attended by space explorers, engineers and entrepreneurs, Buzz Aldrin, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk. Stephen Hawking is living in an exciting and pioneering time in human history from the human devastation and technical revolution of World War II through the opening of the space frontier and information revolution and the current edge of a revolution in genetic engineering, super materials, economics and space travel. Despite his disabilities from motor neuron disease diagnosed at age 21 or perhaps because of them, Stephen Hawking has become an icon for the strength of the human spirit and mind. His driving curiosity took him beyond his physical condition to trying to understand a limitless cosmos and timelessness. It is as if his single individuality and life-time dwarfed in comparison to fundamentally understanding the universe of which he was but a speck of matter.
Hawking grew up in the shadow of the Greatest Generation that saw its way through World War II and built a new world of technical opportunity amid the post-war political struggles. The son of intellectually accomplished and eccentric parents, he attended Byron House School where he attributed his lack of reading skills to “progressive teaching methods”. He wanted to go to another school but finances would not support the tuition. Family life was characterized by an ill-kept house, a junker car, dinners where all were engrossed in reading. He enjoyed his friends at St. Albans School and their long discussions about Christianity. They built a computer from scavenged parts from a clock, telephone switchboard and with the help of their teacher. In 1959 he got a scholarship to University College, Oxford at age 17. He was younger than most of the students and bored with the ease of study. His physics professor said that once he knew that something could be done he could do it without knowing how others did it. He decided to become more socially involved and took interest in classical music, science fiction and became a coaxer for the Boat Club. He received his First Class BA with honors in 1962 and after a trip to Iran began his graduate work at Trinity College. He...

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