Interesting Stephen Hawking Facts: 11-15
11. Stephen Hawking liked Mathematics from a very early age. However, his father, who was actually a doctor and a research biologist hoped that Hawking would study medicine. Turns out that Stephen Hawking really hated biology and he actually described the subject as “too inexact and too descriptive”.
12. Hawking never had an athletic and large build even before his physical illness. That is when he was selected as coxswains in the Oxford Rowing Team. The position he held in the team didn’t require him to row. He was rather in charge of controlling the steering and the stroke rate.
13. At the age of 21 years he was diagnosed with ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This disease is also known as the Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a neurological disorder in which the affected person gradually loses control of all the voluntary muscles.
14. The disease is usually fatal and the doctors who diagnosed him with ALS actually gave him just 3 more years to live. However, Stephen Hawking not only outlived the deadline but has actually lived with the disease for over half a century.
15. Stephen Hawking’s date of birth happens to be the 300th death anniversary of Galileo Galilee. He was born on 8th of January 1942. Galileo died on the same day 300 years ago.
Interesting Stephen Hawking Facts: 16-20
16. Words Plus – a company located in California – was the one that created the original synthesiser of Stephen Hawking. The company used to run a speech program on an Apple II Computer. The program was known as Equalizer.
17. The company adapted the speech synthesiser to a portable system so that it can be mounted on a wheel chair. The original portable system had a hand clicker attached to it so that Hawking could use it to click on the word that he wanted to speak and the synthesiser would convert the word into speech.
18. Later, Hawking lost the ability of even moving his hand. The synthesiser had to be modified. Now, the glasses that he wears has an infrared switch mounted on them. The switch is designed to produce words by detecting cheek movements.
19. In recent years, Intel pitched in to overhaul the communication system that Hawking uses for speech. However, he insisted that the robotic voice that was initially there should be retained as he liked the voice. The voice has an American accent and has become an inseparable part of his identity.
20. In 1985 when he was traveling to Geneva, he contracted pneumonia. The situation became worse and he became unconscious. He was in hospital and put on ventilator and people were considering the option of removing all his life supports to move him out of his misery.