Demand for Stephen Hawking's Doctoral Thesis Crashes Website
The University of Cambridge has made Stephen Hawking's 1966 doctoral thesis freely available to the public.
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 — https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/251038 — 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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