Stephen Hawking's PhD Thesis Is Now Available For Free Online

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 23, 2017

Although Stephen Hawking wrote his 1988 bestseller on cosmology, A Brief History of Time, for non-specialist readers with no prior knowledge of scientific theories, it proved hard for many to penetrate.

In March 1966, as the England football fans were psychologically preparing themselves for World Cup disappointment, a 24-year-old Stephen Hawking published his doctoral research paper: Properties of expanding universes. "Anyone, anywhere in the world should have free, unhindered access to not just my research, but to the research of every great and inquiring mind across the spectrum of human understanding". Now, Hawking's work is available online for anyone across the planet to read.

Titled Properties of Expanding Universes, the thesis has been made accessible via Cambridge's open access repository Apollo, a statement from the university on Monday said.

Hawking's agreement was required prior to the publication of his thesis, with the university saying the document quickly became the most-requested item in its digital archive upon release.

In just the past few months, the University has received hundreds of requests from readers wishing to download Professor Hawking's thesis in full.

Hawking said, "Each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them, just as I did as a young PhD student in Cambridge, inspired by the work of Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell and Albert Einstein".

Professor Hawking and his university said they hoped that putting the thesis online would not simply encourage people to read it and think about the ideas it contains, but also to share their own research too.

"It's wonderful to hear how many people have already shown an interest in downloading my thesis - hopefully they won't be disappointed now that they finally have access to it!" The items made available in Apollo have been accessed from almost every country and in 2017 have collectively received over one million downloads.

The university said hopes to encourage former academics, including 98 Nobel affiliates, to make their work freely available to all.

Arthur Smith, deputy head of scholarly communication at Cambridge, added: "Open Access enables research. By eliminating the barriers between people and knowledge we can realise new breakthroughs in all areas of science, medicine and technology", he said.

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