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Stephen Hawking 'very ill' in hospital

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Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking

In this photo provided by Zero Gravity Corp., astrophysicist Stephen Hawking floats on a zero-gravity jet, Thursday, April 26, 2007. The modified jet carrying Hawking, a handful of his physicians and nurses, and dozens of others first flew up to 24,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean off Florida. Nurses lifted Hawking and carried him to the front of the jet, where they placed him on his back atop a special foam pillow. The plane made a total of eight parabolic dips, including two during which Hawking made two weightless flips like "a gold-medal gymnast," said Peter Diamandis, chairman of Zero Gravity Corp., the company that owns the jet.

In this photo provided by Zero Gravity Corp., astrophysicist Stephen Hawking floats on a zero-gravity jet, Thursday, April 26, 2007. The modified jet carrying Hawking, a handful of his physicians and nurses, and dozens of others first flew up to 24,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean off Florida. Nurses lifted Hawking and carried him to the front of the jet, where they placed him on his back atop a special foam pillow. The plane made a total of eight parabolic dips, including two during which Hawking made two weightless flips like "a gold-medal gymnast," said Peter Diamandis, chairman of Zero Gravity Corp., the company that owns the jet.

Stephen Hawking

Professor Stephen Hawking, one of the world's most famous scientists, is "very ill" in hospital, Cambridge University said today.

Professor Hawking, who works at the university, was undergoing tests at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.

A university spokesman said the 67-year-old physicist, who is best known for his book A Brief History of Time, was taken to Addenbrooke's by ambulance.

"Professor Hawking is very ill," he added.

Professor Hawking suffers from motor neurone disease and is wheelchair bound. He speaks with the help of a voice synthesiser.

He developed symptoms of the disease while studying in the 1960s and is one of the world's longest surviving sufferers.

He has worked at Cambridge's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics for more than 30 years and since 1979 has been the University's Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

Professor Hawking was awarded a CBE in 1982, became a Companion of Honour in 1989 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

He lives in Cambridge and has three children and one grandchild.

Professor Hawking was born in Oxford but his family moved to St Albans, Hertfordshire, when he was eight.

He studied at St Albans School before reading physics at University College Oxford then moving to Cambridge to carry out research in cosmology.

One of Professor Hawking's last public appearances was last September when he unveiled a £1 million clock erected at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

"Professor Hawking is very ill and has today been taken by ambulance to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge," said the University spokesman.

"He is undergoing tests. He has been unwell for a couple of weeks."

Professor Peter Haynes, Head of the University's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, added: "Professor Hawking is a remarkable colleague. We all hope he will be amongst us again soon."

Belfast Telegraph