Tag Archives: motor neuron disease

A Conversation with Stephen Hawking. His life as a scientist and his living with ALS

Claudia Dreyfus of the new York Times (May 9, 2011) interviews Stephen Hawking. She writes: “Like Einstein, he is as famous for his story as for his science.  At the age of 21, the British physicist Stephen Hawking was found to have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,” or ALS, a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. “While A.L.S. is usually fatal within five years, Dr. Hawking lived on and flourished, producing some of the most important cosmological research of his time. In the 1960s, with Sir Roger Penrose, he used mathematics to explicate the properties of black holes. In 1973, he applied Einstein’s general theory of relativity to the principles of quantum mechanics. And he showed that black holes were not completely black but could leak radiation and eventually explode and disappear, a finding that is still reverberating through physics and cosmology.”

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