Remembering Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking
Picture credit: Stewart Cohen

"I have been under the sea in a submarine and up in a hot air balloon and a zero-gravity flight, and I’m booked to go into space with Virgin Galactic. My early work showed that classical general relativity broke down at singularities in the Big Bang and black holes. My later work has shown how quantum theory can predict what happens at the beginning and end of time. It has been a glorious time to be alive and doing research in theoretical physics. I’m happy if I have added something to our understanding of the universe."

Professor Stephen Hawking, 1942 - 2018

It is with great sorrow that we at Penguin Random House have heard of the death of Stephen Hawking on 14 March 2018 at the age of 76. Our heartfelt condolences are with his family at this time. 

Already a highly-respected academic, holding the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge, Stephen Hawking reached a worldwide audience with the publication of A Brief History of Time (first published in the UK under the Bantam Press imprint in 1988), which explained the laws which govern the universe to the general reader. It became a publishing phenomenon, selling two million copies in its UK editions alone. 

A Brief History of Time was followed by further successful titles: Black Holes and Baby Universes (1993); An Illustrated Brief History of Time (1996); The Universe in a Nutshell (2001) and A Briefer History of Time (2005). He is also the author, with his daughter Lucy, of the globally successful George books for children.  There are five of the adventures set in space, all published by Penguin Random House: George’s Secret Key to the Universe (2007), George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt (2009), George and the Big Bang (2011), George and the Unbreakable Code (2014) and George and the Blue Moon (2016). 

In tribute to Stephen, Larry Finlay, Managing Director of Transworld, said: "It is truly our privilege to have been Stephen Hawking’s publisher for the last three decades. He has increased the popular understanding of scientific theory like no-one else since Einstein. Not only was he one of the world’s greatest thinkers, he was also a man with an infectious sense of mischief and wit."  

Francesca Dow, Managing Director, Penguin Random House Children’s UK added: "It has been our pleasure to work with Stephen and Lucy on their books for children. I know that Stephen’s legacy will live on through these books, bringing his discoveries, achievements and clarity of thought to the next generation."

Stephen Hawking
Picture credit: Philip Waterson

Stephen William Hawking was born on 8th January 1942 in Oxford.  He was educated at St. Albans School and University College, Oxford where he studied Physics and was awarded a first class honours degree in Natural Science.  He then moved to Cambridge to do research in Cosmology.  After gaining his Ph.D. he became first a Research Fellow and later a Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College.  After leaving the Institute of Astronomy in 1973, he joined the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, where he held the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

Professor Hawking had twelve honorary degrees.  He was awarded the CBE in 1982, and was made a Companion on Honour in 1989.  He was the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, was a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

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