Stephen William Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England. As a student at Oxford University, Hawking studied Physics, and after three years was awarded a first class honors degree in Natural Science. After gaining a Ph.D. from Cambridge, Hawking became a Research Fellow, and later on a Professional Fellow at Gonville and Caius College. Widely regarded as one of the greatest theoretical physicists since Einstein, Hawking has held the post as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge since 1979. Most famous for his research on black holes, he has written the books A Brief History of Time and Black Holes and Baby Universes, a collection of essays published in 1993. He also authored the books On the Shoulders of Giants, A Briefer History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell, and The Grand Design. Hawking is also the author of numerous articles for scientific papers, has 12 honorary degrees and is a Fellow of The Royal Society and a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Hawking was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in his early 20s and is now confined to a wheelchair. He uses a computer device to help him speak. Hawking holds a professorship at the University of Oxford.