Some have called Stephen Hawking the most brilliant physicist since Albert Einstein. Hawking has been quick to point out that he was born 300 years to the day after Galileo Galilei died and that he holds the same professorship at Cambridge University Isaac Newton once held.

If visible scientists are scientists well-known to the public, then Hawking is not just a visible scientist—he is a rock-star scientist.

Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, in Oxford, England, and spent most of his childhood in St. Albans, a town 20 miles north of London. In 1959, he received an open scholarship to University College, Oxford, where he began studies at the age of 17. In 1962, he received his first-class honors degree from Oxford and then began studying ...

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