Sunday 20 August 2017

Stephen Hawking was serenaded with a belated Happy Birthday after a talk at Cambridge University

Hawking was a guest speaker at a symposium about gravity and black holes.

Stephen Hawking talks about his life and work during a public symposium (Joe Giddens/PA)
Stephen Hawking talks about his life and work during a public symposium (Joe Giddens/PA)

By Zaina Alibhai

Professor Stephen Hawking was serenaded by a full auditorium singing Happy Birthday as he attended a symposium.

The physicist and cosmologist – who turned 75 in January – gave a talk reflecting on his life and scientific work at Cambridge University.

The series of public lectures about gravity and black holes also welcomed other distinguished scientists including Professor Brian Cox.

Prof Hawking joked: “Actually, for those keeping count, I’m closer to 75-and-a-half. But that shouldn’t get in the way of a good celebration.”

In his talk, titled My Life In Physics, he recalled his diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21.

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(Joe Giddens/PA)

“At first I became depressed,” he said. “I seemed to be getting worse really rapidly.

“There didn’t seem any point working on my PhD because I didn’t know I would live long enough to finish it.

“But then the condition developed more slowly and I began to make progress in my work.

“After my expectations had been reduced to zero, every new day became a bonus and I began to appreciate everything I did have. While there’s life there’s hope.”

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