Stephen Hawking once sent his PhD student away with a very hard problem – finding exact rotating black hole solutions of Einstein’s equations with a cosmological constant – and was stunned when he came back a few days later with the solution

I was a student of Stephen Hawking’s – here’s what he taught me

Like many students of my generation, Stephen Hawking had already had enormous influence on me long before we ever met. When I was hesitating about my A-level choices, it was his book A Brief History of Time that convinced me to continue with physical sciences. In 1994, Hawking and mathematical physicist Roger Penrose gave a series of inspiring lectures about cosmology in Cambridge. As a direct result, I chose courses on black holes and relativity for my fourth year of study at the University of Cambridge.

I first saw Hawking when I was an undergraduate. At that time he was living in an apartment building just behind my student house. He was already so famous that friends would come to my room just to watch him leaving and entering his a… Continue Reading