Stephen Hawking's 1966 PhD thesis posted online, breaks the internet!
The general public's interest in "Properties of Expanding Universes", the 51-year-old PhD thesis by Stephen Hawking, has crashed Cambridge University's website on the very first day it was made available for free. The 134-page 1966 thesis was written by the then-24-year-old Hawking. The "historic and compelling" work raises vital questions and examines some "implications and consequences" of the universe's expansion. Read more!
Users can download Hawking's thesis
University of Cambridge spokesperson's statement
A Cambridge University spokesperson said: "We have had a huge response to Prof Hawking's decision to make his PhD thesis publicly available to download, with almost 60,000 downloads in less than 24 hours." Open Access visitors may find the site is slow and temporarily unavailable.
Everyone should have free, unhindered access: Hawking
Hawking agreed to share his thesis in a bid to make research widely available to students and scholars worldwide. He said "anyone, anywhere in the world" should have free access to the "research of every great and enquiring mind." The physicist rose to fame with his 1966 PhD thesis. It is one of the most requested works at Cambridge University.
Stephen Hawking on making his research available to general public
"By making my PhD thesis Open Access, I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet; to wonder about our place in the universe and to try and make sense of the cosmos."
Hawking's PhD thesis consists of four chapters
The thesis's abstract says, "Some implications and consequences of the expansion of the universe are examined." The 134-page comprises of four chapters. The first chapter shows how the universe's expansion contradicts "The Hoyle-Narliker theory of gravitation." The second and third chapters discuss "Perturbations" and "Gravitational radiation in an expanding universe," respectively. The final chapter deals with the "Occurrence of singularities in cosmological models."
Accessibility, a problem
Though Hawking's 1966 work was popular, only 200 copies were requested over the past 18 months. One of the reasons behind the low number of requests was accessibility. Individuals had to pay £65 to Cambridge's library to read the thesis physically or scan a copy.
Each generation inspired by those who have gone before them
Stephen Hawking said every generation "stands on the shoulders" of the previous generation. Giving his own example, the renowned physicist explained how he was inspired by the research of Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, and Albert Einstein. He added that it is wonderful to know that many young users have shown interest in reading and downloading his work.