The Ultimate Stephen Hawking Quiz


After Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking is probably the most famous physicist of all time. But most of us are probably more familiar with his disability (and his amazing ability to overcome it) than we are with his actual theorems.

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Question 1 of 10

Stephen Hawking was born on the 300th anniversary what famous scientist's death?

Sir Isaac Newton

... Hawking was born on Jan. 8, 1942, the 300th anniversary of Galileo's death.


Question 2 of 10

What is Hawking's middle name?


... It's Stephen William Hawking.


Question 3 of 10

What disease has left Hawking in a wheelchair for about 40 years?

spina bifida
multiple sclerosis
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

... Hawking has ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, known in the U.K. as motor neurone disease.


Question 4 of 10

In 1975, Hawking made a bet with fellow scientist Kip Thorne that Cygnus X-1 was not a black hole. Hawking lost -- what did Thorne win?

a subscription to Penthouse
a case of beer
a date with Hawking's wife

... Thorne got a year of Penthouse. In 1997, the two, along with John Preskill, made a public wager on something about radiation and quantum mechanics that we are not even going to pretend to understand. Hawking lost again. Those crazy cosmologists!


Question 5 of 10

Hawking has been working for pretty much his entire career to find an equation that would encapsulate the theory of the origin of the universe. What do scientists call this theory?

the Universal Truth
the Theory of Everything
the Grand Unified Theory

... Again, we can't even try to explain it in a sentence, but let's just say it's called the Grand Unified Theory and physicists have been working on it for a really long time. The Theory of Everything is a little different -- if discovered, it would explain, well, everything.


Question 6 of 10

In 1979, Hawking was made the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge. What other revolutionary scientist held this post?

Albert Einstein
Sir Isaac Newton
Marie Curie

... Sir Isaac Newton, 300 years earlier.


Question 7 of 10

When did Hawking publish "A Brief History of Time"?


... "A Brief History of Time" was an instant best-seller when it came out in 1988.


Question 8 of 10

How many kids does Hawking have?


... He has three children from his first marriage: Robert, Lucy and Timothy.


Question 9 of 10

Hawking wrote a children's book with his daughter, Lucy. What is its title?

"William Falls Down a Black Hole"
"George's Secret Key to the Universe"
"Elizabeth and the Theory of Everything"

... Hawking and his daughter collaborated on "George's Secret Key to the Universe," the first in a planned trilogy of children's books.


Question 10 of 10

Hawking was able to move freely without his wheelchair one day in 2007. What was the occasion?

He took part in a risky medical experiment that briefly suspended his paralysis.
He went on a zero-gravity flight.
He paid $20 million for a trip in a Russian spacecraft.

... Hawking took a ride on a "vomit comet" zero-gravity flight in April 2007.


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