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Stephen Hawking in slovak translation
Dátum pridania: 22.12.2004 Oznámkuj: 12345
Autor referátu: gari
 
Jazyk: Angličtina Počet slov: 23 116
Referát vhodný pre: Vysoká škola Počet A4: 79.6
Priemerná známka: 2.97 Rýchle čítanie: 132m 40s
Pomalé čítanie: 199m 0s
 
1 Stephen Hawking

1.1 The Man

Stephen William Hawking was born in Oxford, England, in 1942 ( 8th of January, exactly 300 years after Galileo Galilei’s death, as he likes to mention) . After the London blitz of World War II, his family moved to the suburbs, where Stephen and his three younger siblings grew up. The Hawking's was a somber household in which the entire family often spent evenings quietly reading. “We were definitely regarded as eccentric,” Hawking recalled not long ago. “The perception was increased by the behavior of my father, who cared nothing for appearances if this allowed him to save money. He refused to put in central heating, even though he felt the cold badly. Instead, he would wear several sweaters and a dressing gown on top of his normal clothes.” His father, Frank, a physician, researched tropical diseases and took an active role in getting his gifted son admitted to England's best schools. “Stephen always had a strong sense of wonder,” recalled his mother, Isobel, a secretary and homemaker. “I could see that the stars would draw him.”

From the start, young Stephen was precocious. At a time when only a handful of computers existed in all of Britain, and most of those were in the military, Hawking and a group of high school friends built one from scratch using old phone switches and relays. It could solve logical problems and was written up in the local newspaper.
As had both his parents, Hawking attended Oxford University, where he studied for perhaps an hour a day. He spent the rest of his time drinking and socializing. Such behavior had less to do with a lack of diligence than with boredom. He found his homework so rudimentary that he never broke a sweat, even in advanced courses. While fellow students toiled for a week on one take-home test with 13 questions, solving perhaps a problem and a half, Hawking procrastinated. Then, on the day the test was due, he began to work. A few hours later, his classmates asked about his progress. “Well,” he replied to their amazement. “I've only had time to do the first ten.”

Then, early in his 20s, came the first signs of Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyo-trophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Hawking began spilling drinks. Falling down. Skating with his family, he collapsed and could not get up. Tests confirmed the worst. Apparently, he had contracted the disease at an earlier age, but the symptoms had not appeared until that point. Hawking knew the ailment might quickly prove fatal; half of all those diagnosed with ALS die within three years of its onset. "The doctors could offer no cure and gave me two-and-a-half years to live," he has recalled.
He is almost totally paralyzed, speechless and wheelchair-bound, able to move only his facial muscles and two fingers on his left hand. He cannot dress or feed himself, and he needs round-the clock nursing care. He can communicate only through a voice synthesizer, which he operates by laboriously tapping out words on the computer attached to his motorized char. Yet at age 50, despite these crushing adversities, Hawking has become, in the words of science writers Michael White and John Gribbin, “perhaps the greatest physicist of our time.”

Hawking's choice of career was most fortunate, for himself as well as for science. Rejecting the urging of his physician father to study medicine, Hawking chose instead to concentrate on math and theoretical physics, first at Oxford and then at Cambridge. Theoretical physics was “one of the very few jobs for which my mind was the only real tool I needed.”
He certainly does not dwell on his handicap. His succinct, synthesized-voice comments are often laced with humor; he enjoys socializing with his students and colleagues, attends rock concerts and sometimes takes to the dance floor at discos, wheeling his chair in circles. But he can be stubborn, abrasive and quick to anger, terminating a conversation by spinning around and rolling off, sometimes running one of his wheels over the toes of an offender.

Without his wife Jane, Hawking was always emphasized, his career might never have soared. She married him shortly after he was diagnosed with ALS, fully aware of the dreadful, progressive nature of the disease, giving him hope and the will to carry on with his studies. Despite increasing paralysis, Hawking became a Professor at Cambridge and soon fathered a son, Robert, and a daughter, Lucy. A second son, Timothy, was born 12 years later, after Hawking's illness had progressed. In fact, his youngest son has never heard Hawking's real voice-only the computer-generated voice he uses today.
After years of apparently harmonious marriage, however, rifts began appearing. As the accolades and awards poured in for Stephen, Jane competent and intelligent herself - began to resent living in his shadow. Deeply religious, she was also offended by his apparent atheism. Particularly galling to her was his concept, enunciated first before the Pope at a scientific meeting at the Vatican, that the universe might be completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, no beginning or end. If that were true, he asked provocatively, “What place, then, for a creator?” Still, friends were shocked in 1990 when Hawking abruptly ended their 25-year marriage, moving in with one of his nurses.

However, it is the man, with his triumph over a terrible affliction, his courage, his humor and his admirable lack of self-pity. (by the way, in september 2004, he overtook the second place, after Johnny Wilkinson, the Rugby Union player in the inquiry of English magazine Good Housekeeping for the idol of British boys. ) As Hawking's computer voice declared during the final scene in a BBC TV show, "I have a beautiful family, I am successful in my work, and I have written a best seller. One really can't ask for more."
“In 1989 he was honoured by the Queen of England into the knightage.”
 
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