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Stephen Hawking, in full Stephen William Hawking, (born January 8, 1942, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England—died March 14, 2018, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire), English theoretical physicist whose theory of exploding black holes drew upon both relativity theory and quantum mechanics. He also worked with space-time singularities.
Stephen Hawking experiencing zero gravity
Hawking studied physics at University College, Oxford (B.A., 1962), and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (Ph.D., 1966). He was elected a research fellow at Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge. In the early 1960s Hawking contracted amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable degenerative neuromuscular disease. He continued to work despite the disease’s progressively disabling effects.
Stephen Hawking and his daughter, Lucy
Hawking worked primarily in the field of general relativity and particularly on the physics of black holes. In 1971 he suggested the formation, following the big bang, of numerous objects containing as much as one billion tons of mass but occupying only the space of a proton. These objects, called mini black holes, are unique in that their immense mass and gravity require that they be ruled by the laws of relativity, while their minute size requires that the laws of quantum mechanics apply to them also. In 1974 Hawking proposed that, in accordance with the predictions of quantum theory, black holes emit subatomic particles until they exhaust their energy and finally explode. Hawking’s work greatly spurred efforts to theoretically delineate the properties of black holes, objects about which it was previously thought that nothing could be known. His work was also important because it showed these properties’ relationship to the laws of classical thermodynamics and quantum mechanics.
Stephen Hawking receiving the Copley Medal
Hawking’s contributions to physics earned him many exceptional honours. In 1974 the Royal Society elected him one of its youngest fellows. He became professor of gravitational physics at Cambridge in 1977, and in 1979 he was appointed to Cambridge’s Lucasian professorship of mathematics, a post once held by Isaac Newton. Hawking was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1982 and a Companion of Honour in 1989. He also received the Copley Medal from the Royal Society in 2006 and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. In 2008 he accepted a visiting research chair at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
His publications included The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time (1973; coauthored with G.F.R. Ellis), Superspace and Supergravity (1981), The Very Early Universe (1983), and the best sellers A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (1988), The Universe in a Nutshell (2001), A Briefer History of Time (2005), and The Grand Design (2010; coauthored with Leonard Mlodinow).
American songwriter and record producer
Quincy Jones, in full Quincy Delight Jones, Jr., byname “Q”, (born March 14, 1933, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.), American musical performer, producer, arranger, and composer whose work encompasses virtually all forms of popular music.
Jones was born in Chicago and reared in Bremerton, Washington, where he studied the trumpet and worked locally with the then-unknown pianist-singer Ray Charles. In the early 1950s Jones studied briefly at the prestigious Schillinger House (now Berklee College of Music) in Boston before touring with Lionel Hampton as a trumpeter and arranger. He soon became a prolific freelance arranger, working with Clifford Brown, Gigi Gryce, Oscar Pettiford, Cannonball Adderley, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, and many others. He toured with Dizzy Gillespie’s big band in 1956, recorded his first album as a leader in the same year, worked in Paris for the Barclay label as an arranger and producer in the late 1950s, and continued to compose. Some of his more successful compositions from this period include “Stockholm Sweetnin’,” “For Lena and Lennie,” and “Jessica’s Day.”
Back in the United States in 1961, Jones became an artists-and-repertoire (or “A&R” in trade jargon) director for Mercury Records. In 1964 he was named a vice president at Mercury, thereby becoming one of the first African Americans to hold a top executive position at a major American record label. In the 1960s Jones recorded occasional jazz dates, arranged albums for many singers (including Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Billy Eckstine), and composed music for several films, including The Pawnbroker (1964), In the Heat of the Night (1967), and In Cold Blood (1967). Jones next worked for the A&M label from 1969 to 1981 (with a brief hiatus as he recovered from a brain aneurysm in 1974) and moved increasingly away from jazz toward pop music. During this time he became one of the most famous producers in the world, his success enabling him to start his own record label, Qwest, in 1980.
Jones’s best-known work includes producing an all-time best-selling album, Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1982), organizing the all-star charity recording “We Are the World” (1985), and producing the film The Color Purple (1985) and the television series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990–96). In 1993 he founded the magazine Vibe, which he sold in 2006.
Throughout the years, Jones worked with a “who’s who” of figures from all fields of popular music. He was nominated for more than 75 Grammy Awards (winning more than 25) and seven Academy Awards and received an Emmy Award for the theme music he wrote for the television miniseries Roots (1977). He received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2001 and the National Medal of Arts in 2010. In 2013 Jones was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones was published in 2001. His life and career were also chronicled in the documentary Quincy (2018), which was directed by his daughter, actress and screenwriter Rashida Jones, and filmmaker Alan Hicks.