Stephen Hawking’s 1966 doctoral thesis made available for the first time

Stephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. Source: Facebook

Ever wondered what one of the greatest minds on the planet was pondering over while at university? Well, now you need wonder no more. Anyone in the world can now download and read the doctoral thesis of 24-year-old theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

While many of us spend university cramming in the library and swatting up for mid-terms, Hawking in 1966 was pondering the Properties of Expanding Universes in a thesis that will test the intellectual boundaries of even the most talented of students.

After becoming available for the first time, demand for the thesis proved so great that it caused Cambridge University’s repository site to go down on Monday. At the time of writing, it’s still not up and running.

Hawking hopes that giving free access to his early work will inspire others, not just to think and learn but to share research.

“By making my PhD thesis open access, I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet; to wonder about our place in the universe and to try and make sense of the cosmos,” he said, as reported by The Guardian.

“Anyone, anywhere in the world should have free, unhindered access to not just my research, but to the research of every great and inquiring mind across the spectrum of human understanding.”

For those of you who fancy a bit of light reading, the doctoral thesis focuses on the implications and consequences of the expansion of the universe, and its conclusions include that galaxies cannot be formed through the growth of perturbations that were initially small. (Yep, we’re lost already)

Recognising that research of the past provides the fundamental building blocks for breakthroughs of the future, Hawking wanted to make the thesis readily available to all, while paying homage to those that built the foundations of his own work.

“Each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them, just as I did as a young PhD student in Cambridge, inspired by the work of Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell and Albert Einstein,” Hawking said.

“It’s wonderful to hear how many people have already shown an interest in downloading my thesis – hopefully they won’t be disappointed now that they finally have access to it.”

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