Stephen Hawking.

Essay by MunkiJunior High, 9th gradeA+, May 2003

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Determination, love, and intelligence. Thousands of people across the world, nay, across history, have exhibited these qualities. But how many of them have acted on that determination, done what they loved, used their intelligence, triumphed over overwhelming adversity? How many of them do we really remember and have what it takes to be the most influential scientist of the 20th and 21st centuries? One person does, and his name is Stephen W. Hawking, the man who made physics the waterhole of people everywhere. He was the man who made physics accessible to almost everyone, using down-to-earth language and a unique wit which still transcends to today, 15 years after he published the highest selling science book of all time. It was a long and winding road, but he never faltered in the face of tragedy. This is his story.

Stephen W. Hawking came into the world during a time of chaos and under unusual circumstances.

World War Two was raging, and England was one of the last places a mother would want to have her child. But on January 8th, 1942, young Stephen Hawking was brought into the world in Oxfordshire, England. The date was precisely 300 years after the death of another great mind who overcame trouble, Galileo Galilei. Stephen's parents, Frank and Isobel Hawking, were middle class citizens, and didn't have the resources to fully nurture young Stephen's already emerging intelligence. But the family made enough sacrifices to allow Stephen to attend the St. Alban's abbey school in St. Albans, after he had missed the test date for a scholarship to Westminster due to illness. The eccentricity of genius could already be seen in the young Stephen, as well as some of the other territory that goes with it. He was seen as awkward and puny, he...