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From Black Holes to Birthdays-Stephen Hawking Turns 75

The globally acclaimed physicist celebrates his 75th birthday this Sunday

While respected and renowned throughout the galaxy of the science community, Professor Hawking’s extensive list of accomplishments are also part of public lore for geeks and enthusiasts.

Hawking was born in Oxford, England on 8 January 1942. As pointed out by his online biography, he joined the world 300 years to the day after the death of Galileo.

It doesn’t take a journey through space and time to connect the similarities between these two titans of physics.

Through his improvement to the telescope, the 16th century polymath Galileo Galilei proved Copernicus’ theory that the universe was in fact heliocentric, as opposed to geocentric.

While the church wasn’t all too excited that the earth was no longer the center of attention, Galileo’s discovery, amongst many others, helped inspire Hawking’s own discoveries.

In fact, the Cambridge graduate went on to also become the bearer of bad news for previously-held beliefs in his own time.

He proposed that black holes are not as gluttonous as previously thought, due to his theory that they spit out photons, which are small light particles. This regurgitation, referred to as ‘Hawking’s radiation’, means that black holes lose a degree of energy over time, ultimately leading to their evaporation.

Today, supporters and fans can appreciate Professor Hawking’s contributions to the understanding of life as we have yet to know it; much of his scientific sleuthing is based on breaking down the mysteries of the universe through cosmology, general relativity, and quantum gravity.