On Monday morning, part of Cambridge University’s website crashed. The culprit? It wasn’t hackers, but rather, Stephen Hawking.
Or more specifically, his doctoral research which he wrote some 50 years ago when he was just 24 years old.
Called ‘Properties of Expanding Universes’, Hawking’s 1966 PhD thesis has long been kept safe by Cambridge University. It’s the most requested item in the school’s library, and now, a digitised version has made available for free online.
When the announcement was made, tens of thousands of eager readers flocked to the library’s website, causing it to crash. As of writing, the site has yet to be restored.
According to the 75-year-old Hawking, he decided to put out the paper online to spur people’s interest in science, as well as encourage others to share their own research.
“By making my PhD thesis Open Access, I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet; to wonder about our place in the universe and to try and make sense of the cosmos,” he said.
“Anyone, anywhere in the world should have free, unhindered access to not just my research, but to the research of every great and enquiring mind across the spectrum of human understanding.
“Each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them, just as I did as a young PhD student in Cambridge, inspired by the work of Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell and Albert Einstein.”
You can access (or at least try to) Hawking’s thesis through Cambridge’s Apollo system here.