More than 50 years ago, Stephen Hawking wrote his doctoral thesis on how universes expand.
On Monday morning (GMT), that research became available for anyone to read through a digital library maintained by the University of Cambridge.
“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,” Hawking said in a statement.
“I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet.”
Hawking’s 1966 thesis, “Properties of expanding universes,” is the most requested item in the University of Cambridge’s open access repository. The catalogue record gets hundreds of views per month, according to the the university. In recent months, hundreds of readers have made requests to download the entire thesis.
Hawking gave his permission to make the document available, and Cambridge officials hope his decision prompts current students to provide the same public access to their work and encourage its former academics to do the same. (The university has been home to 98 Nobel Prize recipients.)
The historic Cambridge University Library maintains the physical papers of scientists like Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin and has made their research data available online.
“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,” Hawking said.