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Hawking expected to make full recovery

THE family of physicist Stephen Hawking expects him to fully recover from a chest infection that put him in hospital, Cambridge University said yesterday.

Hawking was admitted to Addenbrooke's hospital on Monday for observation.

"He is comfortable and his family is looking forward to him making a full recovery," the university said.

Hawking, 67, gained renown for his work on black holes and has remained active despite being diagnosed at age 21 with an incurable degenerative disorder.

Hawking has been almost entirely paralyzed for years and communicates through an electronic voice synthesizer activated by his fingers.

Hawking was involved in the search for the great goal of physics - a "unified theory" - which would resolve contradictions between Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, which describes the laws of gravity that govern the motion of large objects like planets, and the Theory of Quantum Mechanics, which deals with the world of subatomic particles.

"A complete, consistent unified theory is only the first step: our goal is a complete understanding of the events around us, and of our own existence," he wrote in his best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time," published in 1988.

In the sequel "The Universe in a Nutshell," published in 2001, Hawking ventured into concepts like supergravity, naked singularities and the possibility of a universe with 11 dimensions. He announced last year that he would step down from his post as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a title once held by Isaac Newton.

However, the university said on Monday that Hawking intended to continue working as Emeritus Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

The chest infection, which Hawking has been fighting for several weeks, caused him to cancel an appearance at Arizona State University earlier this month.


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