10 Cool Things You Didn't Know About Stephen Hawking

Took Zero-gravity Flight to Save the Human Race
Hawking has said he plans to explore space aboard Virgin Galactic's commercial spacecraft, the first of which was unveiled in December 2009.
Hawking has said he plans to explore space aboard Virgin Galactic's commercial spacecraft, the first of which was unveiled in December 2009.
Thierry Boccon-Gibod/Getty Images

In 2007, when Stephen Hawking was 65 years old, he got to take the ride of a lifetime. He was able to experience zero-gravity and float out of his wheelchair thanks to Zero Gravity Corp. The service involves an airplane ride in which sharp ascent and descent allows passengers to experience weightlessness in flight for several rounds, each about 25-seconds long.

Hawking, free from his wheelchair for the first time in four decades, was even able to perform gymnastic flips. Hawking also booked a seat with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic to ride on a sub-orbital flight.

But perhaps most interesting about this is not what he was able to do, but why he did it. When asked about why he wanted to do this, he of course cited his desire to go into space. But his reasons for going and his overall support for space travel went deeper than that.

Due to the possibility of global warming or nuclear war, Hawking has said that the future of the human race, if it is going to have a long one, will be in outer space [source: Boyle]. He supported private space exploration in hopes that space tourism will become affordable for the public. He hoped that we could travel to other planets to use their resources to survive [source: Daily Mail].

Read on for lots more information about Stephen Hawking, physics and other related subjects.

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  • Blum, Matt. "The Geekly Reader: George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking." Wired. July 23, 2008. (June 18, 2010)http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2008/07/the-geekly-re-3/
  • Boyle, Alan. "Hawking goes zero-G: 'Space, here I come.'" MSNBC.com. April 26, 2007. (June 18, 2010)http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18334489/
  • Gates, Evalyn. "Einstein's Telescope." W.W. Norton & Company, 2009.
  • Hawking, Stephen. "The Beginning of Time." Lecture. Hawking.org. 1996. (June 18, 2010)http://www.hawking.org.uk/index.php/lectures/publiclectures
  • Hawking, Stephen. "The Direction of Time." New Scientist. July 9, 1987. (June 21, 2010)http://books.google.com/books?id=Kc5qky1dIkIC
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  • Hawking, Stephen. "Why We Should Go Into Space." Lecture. NASA. April 21, 2008. (June 18, 2010)http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/223968main_HAWKING.pdf
  • Hogam Jenny. "Hawking concedes black hole bet." NewScientist. July 21, 2004. (June 19, 2010)http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6193-hawking-concedes-black-hole-bet.html
  • Larsen, Kristine. "Stephen Hawking: A Biography." Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005. (June 18, 2010)http://books.google.com/books?id=yL3RBMEI5OgC
  • MailOnline. "Mankind must colonise other planets to survive, says Hawking." MailOnline. Dec. 1, 2006. (June 18, 2010)http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-419573/Mankind-colonise-planets-survive-says-Hawking.html
  • Moskowitz, Clara. "Stephen Hawking: Aliens may not come in peace." CSMonitor.com. April 27, 2010. (June 18, 2010)http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2010/0427/Stephen-Hawking-Aliens-may-not-come-in-peace
  • PBS. "Stephen Hawking's Universe: Singularity." PBS. (June 18, 2010)http://www.pbs.org/wnet/hawking/strange/html/singular.html
  • Rodgers, Peter. "Hawking loses black hole bet." PhysicsWorld. July 22, 2004. (June 21, 2010)http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/19926


Stephen Hawking's Last Paper Takes on the Multiverse

Stephen Hawking's Last Paper Takes on the Multiverse

Stephen Hawking proposed that maybe the multiverse isn't that complicated after all in his last published work. Learn more at HowStuffWorks.

Last editorial update on Mar 14, 2018 06:42:20 am.

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