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22 Things You Didn't Know About Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is one of the most brilliant minds in astrophysics. Everyone knows his name, but much of his biography is still not well-known.

This list of Stephen Hawking facts will make you realize Stephen Hawking is not only brilliant, but funny and self-aware. By the time you finish reading it, you'll be even more amazed by both his mental and physical accomplishments.


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  • He Was Born on the 300th Anniversary of Galileo's Death

    Stephen Hawking's birthday is January 8, 1944. That's exactly 300 years after Galileo's death. It's a delightful coincidence, given that Galileo was a revolutionary astronomer in his own time, and Stephen Hawking would go on to be a revolutionary astrophysicist.
  • Both of His Parents Went to Oxford

    Photo: Fernando García / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    It's not terribly surprising that brilliant parents gave birth to a brilliant child. Stephen Hawking's father, Frank, studied medicine at Oxford, and his mother, Isobel, studied philosophy, politics, and economics.
  • He Got Mediocre Grades in School

    When Stephen was growing up, his grades were never above average. This was not because of a lack of intelligence, but rather a lack of effort. He devoted his time to other things, like taking apart radios to see how they worked.
  • His Teachers Nicknamed Him "Einstein"

    Photo: Kirill Afonin / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    Despite his mediocre grades, Stephen's teachers and peers knew that he was incredibly smart. As a teenager, he and his friends built a computer from scratch. His teachers, in a somewhat prophetic way, nicknamed him Einstein.