5 fascinating things you probably didn't know about Stephen Hawking

14 March 2018 - 11:07 By Paula Stephanie Andropoulos
The late Stephen Hawking.
The late Stephen Hawking.
Image: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Stephen Hawking, the famous cosmologist who shaped our understanding of time, space, and the nature of black holes, passed away today in Cambridge, England.

Hawking had been living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) since he was diagnosed at 21, and has become an emblem of resilience and hope to differently-abled people around the world.

Here are some facts that you might not have known about this self-deprecating genius:

1. HE SHARES A BIRTHDAY WITH ANOTHER FAMOUS SCIENTIST

Hawking was born on January 8 1942. This is 300 years to the day after the death of Galileo Galilei, the brilliant Italian astronomer and physicist whose work helped to prove that the sun is at the centre of the solar system. 

2. HE WASN'T ALWAYS A VERY GOOD STUDENT

According to Hawking, he only learnt to read when he was eight years old, and was not particularly successful until right at the end of his school career.

3. HE REPORTEDLY HAD A WEAKNESS FOR STRIPPERS

He was a regular at Stringfellows Club in London. He was also spotted patronising a similar institution across the pond: the prolific cosmologist was seen getting a lap dance at Devore in California.

4. HE BELIEVED IN ALIENS

Hawking also wasn’t optimistic about what might happen if aliens alighted on earth, foreseeing an invasion that might emulate the ravages of colonialism.

"If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the American Indians," he explained in a web documentary titled Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places.

WATCH | Stephan Hawking dies at 76

5. HE WROTE A CHILDREN'S BOOK

George’s Secret Key to the Universe – the joint venture of Hawking and his daughter, Lucy – tells the story of a young boy who befriends his physicist neighbour and goes on adventures in outer space.


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