Exactly three hundred years after the death of the great scientist Galileo, Stephen William Hawking was born in Oxford,England on 8th January, 1942. Little did his parents know that Stephen would be hailed as one of the greatest scientists of this century.
After schooling, Stephen joined University College, Oxford and studied Physics. After obtaining a first class degree in Natural Sciences, he went to Cambridge to do research. Since 1979, he has held the post of Professor of Mathematics, the one held by Isaac Newton in 1663.
At the age of 17, Stephen started noticing that he was becoming increasingly clumsy and even fell down a couple of times, for no reason. Shortly after his 21st birthday, he was taken to hospital and made to undergo a number of tests. He was shocked, when he realized he had an incurable disease, a type of sclerosis, which weakened his muscles. The physicians predicted an early death for him.
He went back to Cambridge and carried on his research. He was not able to make much progress. He thought that he might not live for long and that his PhD would never be completed. However he finished it.
As his scientific reputation increased, his disability got worse. Even feeding himself and getting in and out of bed became difficult. In 1980, he had to rely upon nurses. In 1985 he underwent an operation in the wind-pipe. After this, he needed 24 hours nursing care. Before the operation, his speech was not clear, but at least he could communicate. But the operation distanced him from his ability to speak altogether. However, a computer programme specially devised for him, helped him communicate. Using this programme, a book has been written, and dozens of scientific papers have been presented. Many scientific talks have also been given.
He was awarded medals and prizes. He has twelve honourary degrees to his credit. Stephen Hawking’s life long illness has not prevented him having a very happy life, and being successful in his work. He continues his research in Physics. He has been travelling and delivering public lectures though it requires a great mental and physical effort. He has exhibited remarkable survival skills and has dared to defy misfortune.
From the life of Stephen Hawking, it is understood that one need not lose hope. His life is an example that disability need not prevent one from reaching great heights. Grit and determination are his formulae to overcome crises. If there is a will, one need hardly struggle to find a way. For, the mind can triumph over matter! While Stephen William Hawking inspired the whole world with his uncrushable spirit and will power, do you know, who inspired him, reach such a great heights? He is none other than his Mathematics teacher, DikranTahta.