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The Theory of Everything has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards including Best Motion Picture (Drama), and its stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are currently favorites for the Academy Awards. Before seeing one of the year’s biggest bio-pics, read on and learn more about the real Stephen Hawking.
1. While Stephen Hawking is probably best known for his book A Brief History of Time, it was not his first book. His first book, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, was published in 1975.
2. He was awarded the CBE, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, in 1982.
3. In 2009, Hawking was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, alongside Billie Jean King, Sandra Day O’Connor, Harvey Milk, Sidney Poitier, and others.
4. In 1990, Stephen Hawking divorced his first wife Jane, and five years later, he married one of his nurses, Elaine Mason. He eventually divorced Elaine in 2006 amidst allegations that Elaine had abused him.
5. Hawking has appeared on TV shows including The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
6. Stephen Hawking wrote a children’s book “George’s Secret Key to the Universe” with his daughter, Lucy Hawking.
7. The Theory of Everything is not the first film about the life of Stephen Hawking. Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Imitation Game) portrayed Hawking in the BBC film Hawking.
8. Hawking’s speech synthesizer has become widely recognizable in popular culture, but he participated in a 2011 trial of a new communication device called the iBrain. The user wears a headband that reads waves of electrical brain signals and translates the signals using an algorithm.
9. Hawking is a big supporter of space travel and even believes that time travel is possible.
10. Surprisingly, Hawking is more cautious about artificial intelligence advancements. He acknowledges that creating a successful AI would be a milestone in human history, but he worries about the potential risks.
11. When he was diagnosed with ALS at age 21, doctors expected him to only live a few more years.
12. Hawking got to experience zero gravity, courtesy of Zero Gravity Corp. It was the first time in four decades that he was able to move free of his wheelchair.
13. His birthday is January 8, 1942, which happens to be the 300th anniversary of the death of Galileo Galilei.