Professor Stephen Hawking, one of Oxford University’s most famous alumni, returned for a flying visit this week.
The world renowned theoretical physicist gave the inaugural address for the Oxford University Mathematical Institute's Roger Penrose Public Lecture series, which is running in recognition of Professor Penrose's lifetime contribution across the mathematical sciences.
Demand for a seat at Professor Hawking’s talk was so high that it was broadcast live on Oxford’s Facebook page, after tickets sold out in record time.
As a long-time collaborator and friend of Professor Penrose, Hawking was the perfect choice to launch the series, with a lecture on the topic of quantum black holes.
Together, Professor Hawking and Penrose famously showed that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity implied space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes.
Despite being diagnosed with a form of motor neurone disease at just 21, Professor Hawking has gone on to achieve international acclaim, with 12 honorary degrees and a Fellowship of the Royal Society. A Professor at Cambridge University’s Department for Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics, he also studied Physics at Oxford University.
His popular books include A Brief History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell and Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays.
Welcoming Professor Hawking to the stage, Roger Penrose remarked: 'I can't think of anybody who needs less of an introduction than Stephen'.