Very great scientists have come and gone: but perhaps none of them has achieved things under the circumstances that Stephen hawking has gone through. At 21, when hawking was in his third year at Oxford he became afflicted with the serious Motor Neuron disease that disintegrated his nerve cells and atrophied his muscles. His speech became slurred. Other organs of communication also were lost. Doctors gave hawking only two years more of life. Undaunted by this grim diagnosis hawking not only completed his course  at Oxford but went on to submit his Ph. D. thesis, marry and have three children. In 1974 he was made Fellow of the royal Society, a rare honour for any scientist. Again, during a research visit to Switzerland, hawking contracted pneumonia and his windpipe was operated upon. This caused complete loss of speech. His muscular state further deteriorated and he was tied to a wheel-chair with a specially devised computer to help him in his research. His indomitable spirit and almost superhuman intellectual power helped him to carry on with his studies. Two books that have popularized his epoch-making theories bout the Creation and the Universe are a Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell. Academic honours have been showered upon Hawking and he is considered by many as the greatest physicist and mathematician after Einstein. Stephen Hawking has shown how human intellect and spirit can surmount the greatest of physical handicaps.

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