Stephen Hawking's PhD thesis crashes University of Cambridge website

By Daniel Uria  |  Oct. 23, 2017 at 9:31 PM
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Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The University of Cambridge's website crashed on Monday after posting famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking's PhD thesis online.

The university in England made Hawking's thesis paper available to download online in a series of PDF files which drew droves of people to the website and caused it to crash.

Hawking wrote the doctoral thesis titled "Properties of expanding universes" in 1966 when he was 24 years old and gave Cambridge permission to post it to the university's Open Access repository.

"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, now 75 said.

Before it was posted online, hundreds of people traveled to Cambridge every month to view a physical copy of the thesis.

More than 200,000 digital objects including 15,000 research articles and 2,400 theses are available on the repository, called Apollo, and the university hopes Hawking's decision will encourage other great minds to make their work available.

"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," Hawking said.

Dr. Arthur Smith, deputy head of scholarly communication at Cambridge, said all graduating PhD students will be required to deposit an electronic copy of their doctoral work for preservation.

Hawking was flattered by the high demand to view his thesis and stressed the importance of providing a foundation for future scholars.

"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!" 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."

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