Today is the 55th birthday of English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who is well known for his 1988 surprise best seller A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, and for his theories on the origin and fate of the universe. In the 1970s, Hawking discovered that, contrary to conventional wisdom, black holes can emit subatomic particles, now known as Hawking radiation. He has shown mathematically that many small black holes may have formed early in the universe's history. Hawking has challenged the big bang theory and has hypothesized that new universes may arise frequently as a result of wrinkles in space-time.
[Source: McMurray, Emily, Ed., Notable Twentieth Century Scientists. Gale Research Inc., ITP., 1995.]