Reading Comprehension - Stephen Hawking Biography

Develop your reading skills. Read Stephen Hawking biography below and do the comprehension questions

Stephen Hawking biographyStephen William Hawking was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author, and director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. Hawking was born on January 8, 1942. At an early age, he showed an interest in science and technology. Although known at school as "Einstein", Hawking was not initially successful academically. With time, he began to show considerable aptitude for scientific subjects and decided to read mathematics at university. Hawking's father advised him to study medicine, concerned that there were few jobs for mathematics graduates.

Hawking disease

At university, Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis "ALS" or Lou Gehrig's disease.) He fell into a depression – though his doctors advised that he continue with his studies, he felt there was little point. His disease progressed more slowly than doctors had predicted. Although Hawking had difficulty walking unsupported, and his speech was almost unintelligible, an initial diagnosis that he had only two years to live proved unfounded. With his Doctoral advisor's encouragement, he returned to his work. Hawking started developing a reputation for brilliance and brashness when he publicly challenged the work of the noted Yorkshire astronomer, Fred Hoyle, and his student Jayant Narlikar at a lecture in June 1964.

Hawking's work

His scientific work included research on the origins and structure of the universe, from the Big Bang to black holes. He revolutionized the field by being the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He was a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.


Hawking was a fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. In 2002, Hawking was ranked number 25 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009 and achieved commercial success with works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general. His book A Brief History of Time appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.


Hawking's illness gradually paralyzed him over the decades. However, even after the loss of his speech, he was still able to communicate through a speech-generating device, initially through the use of a hand-held switch, and eventually by using a single cheek muscle. He died on 14 March 2018 at the age of 76.

Source: Wikipedia


  1. Hawking was a brilliant student right from the start.
    a. True
    b. False
  2. His disease caused him to lose the ability to speak.
    a. True.
    b. False.
  3. The initial doctors' conclusions about his illness were all true.
    a. True
    b. False

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