Published: Tue, October 24, 2017
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Stephen Hawking's 1966 doctoral thesis is available online for the first time

Stephen Hawking's 1966 doctoral thesis is available online for the first time

It can now be downloaded from the University of Cambridge's open access repository, Apollo.

More than five decades ago, the 24-year-old doctoral candidate, Stephen Hawking, wrote his thesis, Properties of expanding universes, on the subject of how universes expand.

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.

The university said the thesis is by far the most popular in its system, with even the internal catalog page receiving hundreds of views each month.

Therefore, he thought he shouldn't keep it away from the eyes of the public, so the thesis is now available online, and can be read by anyone.

Needless to say, it's not light reading.

The Properties of Expanding Universes, Stephen Hawking's PhD thesis, has been published online for the first time and is free to read.


Hawking said in today's statement that each generation builds upon one another, and his own work was built off a foundation provided by Newton and Einstein and James Clark Maxwell. The school is also encouraging former students and affiliates - including 98 Nobel winners since 1904 - to make their work freely available on Apollo.

Dr Arthur Smith, Deputy Head of Scholarly Communication said: "It is especially important for disseminating the knowledge acquired during doctoral research studies". By eliminating the barriers between people and knowledge we can realise new breakthroughs in all areas of science, medicine and technology.

The university called it "historic and compelling research".

According to the 75-year-old Hawking, he chose to put out the paper online to spur people's interest in science, as well as encourage others to share their own research.

And like Professor Hawking, we hope that many students will also take the opportunity to freely distribute their work online by making their thesis Open Access.

It was free to download Monday to mark Open Access Week. "It is home to the physical papers of such greats as Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin", Cambridge's library services director Jessica Gardner said, according to the university.

"But our responsibility now is today's researcher and today's scientists and people working across all disciplines across our great university".

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