Professor Stephen Hawking – level 3
Renowned British physicist Professor Stephen Hawking died at the age of 76 this year.
Born in 1942, he gained a first-class degree in physics from Oxford University and completed his postgraduate research in cosmology at Cambridge University. Doctors diagnosed him with a rare motor neuron disease, which left him paralysed, and they gave him only a few years to live.
Despite his illness, he went on to make ground-breaking discoveries, specifically proving Einstein’s General Relativity, and the fact that the universe began with the Big Bang and would end in black holes. His published book A Brief History of Time sold over 10 million copies.
The physicist received many honours in his lifetime but reportedly turned down knighthood due to a lack of government funding for science.
Hawking married in 1964 and had three children. His family described him as ‘an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years’.
Difficult words: renowned (well-known, famous), first class (with the best marks), cosmology (the study of the universe), motor neuron (how the brain controls how the body moves), knighthood (the title of a knight).
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