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Stephen Hawking's doctoral thesis now free to read online

Comb the early work of one the world's greatest minds with the release of Stephen Hawking's Ph.D. thesis as an open-access paper.

A close-up look at the title page.

Stephen Hawking

"Some implications and consequences of the expansion of the universe examined." That's the sentence that kicks off the abstract for physicist Stephen Hawking's 1966 Ph.D. thesis at the University of Cambridge. It's titled "Properties of expanding universes," and it's now online for the first time for anyone to read. 

A release from the university describes the young Hawking as a "then little-known 24-year-old Cambridge postgraduate." The doctoral thesis isn't exactly light reading. It dives into some heady cosmological topics, dropping references to the Hoyle-Narlikar theory of gravitation and "perturbations of a spatially isotropic and homogeneous expanding universe." 

Hawking gave the university permission to make the paper available, saying, "It's wonderful to hear how many people have already shown an interest in downloading my thesis -- hopefully they won't be disappointed now that they finally have access to it." 

Cambridge and Hawking hope making the scientist's early paper open-access will encourage others to make their work freely available. "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 says.

The paper's release is timed for Open Access Week 2017, a worldwide event aimed at promoting free and open access to scholarly research. 

"Properties of expanding universes" is available through the university's Apollo repository or from the Cambridge Digital Library, where you can also view images of the actual physical copy held in the library.