Stephen Hawking has held the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge since 1979. The chair was first held by Isaac Barrow, and then in 1669 by Isaac Newton.
In his work, Dr. Hawking seeks to better understand the basic laws which govern the universe. With Roger Penrose he 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. These results indicated it was necessary to unify General Relativity with Quantum Theory, the other great scientific development of the first half of the 20th Century. One consequence of such a unification that he discovered was that black holes should not be completely black, but should emit radiation and eventually evaporate and disappear. Another conjecture is that the universe has no edge or boundary in imaginary time. This would imply that the way the universe began was completely determined by the laws of science.
Stephen Hawking has published three popular books; his bestseller A Brief History of Time, as well as Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays and most recently, in 2001, The Universe in a Nutshell.
Professor Hawking has twelve honorary degrees, was awarded the CBE in 1982, and was made a Companion of Honour in 1989. He is the recipient of many awards, medals and prizes and is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.