Stephen Hawking was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author who was director of research at the center for theoretical cosmology at the University of Cambridge at the time of his death. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009.
Hawking achieved commercial success with several 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 recordbreaking 237 weeks. Hawking was a fellow of the royal society (FRS), a lifetime member of the pontifical academy of sciences, and a recipient of the presidential metal of sciences, 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.