Who is the most fascinating person on this planet? No, it isn't a politician, nor is it the Pope, David Beckham, or Angelina Jolie.
Stephen Hawking has always been a mystery to me. I didn't know much about his life, except for the fact that he is an extremely smart and highly regarded scientist who in 1988 wrote A Brief History of Time (subtitled "From the Big Bang to Black Holes", and which has sold more than ten million copies) and he is, of course, in a wheelchair. This documentary shows there is much more to this amazing man, and that Hawking's tale of overcoming his debilitating Motor Neurone disease and continuing to thrive in his field and make scientific discoveries is exceptional.
and is practically viewed as a saint in the scientific community.
In the film, which is narrated by Hawking himself, we learn he was born on January 8, 1942 (coincidentally on the 300th anniversary of the death of Galileo), in Oxford, England. His father worked at The Institute for Medical Research, so this is perhaps where Hawking became interested in science. He attended Oxford University, where he studied Natural Sciences, specializing in Physics.
When he was 21, he started to notice that his body was not functioning the way it should. He was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, and was not expected to live much longer. Despite his developing disease, Hawking made discoveries in the world of cosmology which would change the way scientists think about the creation of the universe. The same year, he got married and completed his PhD.
As his body was becoming weaker, his mental capacity was becoming stronger, but by the time he turned 25, he was in a wheelchair. This documentary goes on to mention the many accepted theories of the universe that Hawking has discovered. After A Brief History of Time was published, Hawking became a worldwide celebrity, and very rich as well. With the trappings of success came the breakdown of his marriage. (Hawking would go on to marry his nurse in 1995.) The documentary shows the many honors that Hawking has received, including very moving scenes of his appearance in the 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony.
Not only is Hawking told in his own words, it also features comments from the many people who have been a part of his life, including his long time carer, his oldest sister Mary, ex-wife Jane, childhood best friends, and fellow scientists. His graduate assistants seem to be in awe of being able to work for the smartest man on this planet. Also featured are astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Richard Branson, and actor Jim Carrey, who wrote and performed a comedy skit with Hawing for his appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2003.
Hawking is a very important documentary of a man who has overcome so many obstacles, and has excelled in everything he has done. His life is an inspiration to us all.