Stephen Hawking’s visit to the Vatican last month with Oxygen provided by our team. As stated online from the Catholic News Agency, Hawking is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences – which includes 80 of the most brilliant scientists in the world – and he was in Vatican City for the group’s annual meeting. Hawking himself gave a talk on “The Origin of the Universe,” the topic that has earned him world renown.
His many publications include The Large Scale Structure of Spacetime with G F R Ellis, General Relativity: An Einstein Centenary Survey, with W Israel, and 300 Years of Gravity, with W Israel. Among the popular books Stephen Hawking has published are his best seller A Brief History of Time, Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, The Universe in a Nutshell, The Grand Design and My Brief History.
Professor Hawking has twelve honorary degrees. He was awarded the CBE in 1982, and was made a Companion of Honour in 1989. He is the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes, is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.
Stephen was diagnosed with ALS, a form of Motor Neurone Disease, shortly after his 21st birthday. In spite of being wheelchair bound and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication Stephen Hawking continues to combine family life (he has three children and three grandchildren), and his research into theoretical physics together with an extensive programme of travel and public lectures.
During his conference at Casina Pio IV, Stephen Hawking paid homage to Msgr. George Lemaitre, president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences from 1960 to 1966. Hawking said that Msgr. Lemaitre was the real father of the “Big Bang Theory,” thus dismissing the common belief that the father of the theory was the U.S. naturalized physicist George Gamow.