In Brief

Demand for Stephen Hawking's Doctoral Thesis Crashes Website

Stephen Hawking
The University of Cambridge has made Stephen Hawking's 1966 doctoral thesis freely available to the public. (Image credit: Flickr/NASA HQ PHOTO)

A lot of people want to read something they'll barely understand.

The University of Cambridge made famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking's 1966 doctoral thesis freely available to the public today (Oct. 23), and demand for the document has been so intense that it crashed the download website.

As of this afternoon, that website — — was still down.

Hawking's 134-page thesis, "Properties of Expanding Universes," was already the most-requested item in Cambridge's open-access repository, known as Apollo, university officials said in a statement. Hundreds of people had asked to download the document in just the past few months, they added.

Now people don't have to ask. And the 75-year-old Stephen Hawking is definitely on board with the change.

"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," he said in the same statement.

"Each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them, just as I did as a young Ph.D. student in Cambridge, inspired by the work of Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell and Albert Einstein," Hawking added. "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!"

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.