Professor Stephen Hawking has made his PhD thesis “Properties of expanding universes” freely available online for the first time ever.
Written in 1966 by a then 24-year-old Hawking, the “historic and compelling” thesis asks vital questions about the expansion of the universe.
“Properties of expanding universes” has consistently been the most requested document within the University’s collection.
Commenting on why he agreed to have this thesis published, Professor Hawking said: “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.”
“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.”
The university now hopes that many of its other well-known academics will follow in Professor Hawking’s example and will make their doctoral theses available.
To ensure that this sharing of information can continue in the future, all PhD students from October onwards will be required to give an electronic version of their thesis for preservation. They will then be allowed to decide if the piece is simply kept in storage or published online through Open Access repository Apollo.
Dr Arthur Smith, Deputy Head of Scholarly Communication said: “It is especially important for disseminating the knowledge acquired during doctoral research studies. PhD theses contain a vast trove of untapped and unique information just waiting to be used, but which is often locked away from view and scrutiny.”
According to the university, Apollo is home to over 200,000 digital objects including 15,000 research articles.
Professor Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” is arguably one of the best-selling popular science books ever, having sold over 10m copies.
If, however, you would like to go back to where it all began you can download and read Professor Hawking’s thesis right here.