Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Teacher

May 06, 2019 / E-news

When he was fourteen, Stephen Hawking “wasn’t the easiest person to teach,” he writes in his final book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions. His handwriting was messy and he was “slow to learn to read.” It was at this age that he met Dikran Tahta, a teacher who would change his life.

The physicist Stephen Hawking experiences zero gravity while flying aboard a specially modified Boeing 727. In his book Brief Answers to the Big Questions, Hawking wrote, If you look behind every exceptional person there is an exceptional teacher.

The physicist Stephen Hawking experiences zero gravity while flying aboard a specially modified Boeing 727. In his book Brief Answers to the Big Questions, Hawking wrote, "If you look behind every exceptional person there is an exceptional teacher."

Hawking writes that Tahta “opened my eyes to maths as the blueprint of the universe itself,” helping Hawking to focus and to “think creatively about mathematics.”

Hawking was a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and explainer of physics whose A Brief History of Time brought him widespread public acclaim. Despite having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, Hawking made significant contributions to physics, including the discovery of Hawking radiation, an effect produced by black holes.

As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, we recognize that teachers are the heart of the Center for Civic Education’s curricular programs. They help students overcome challenges, gain confidence, and develop into fully engaged and informed citizens. Please take the time to send a note to your favorite teacher, someone who has made a difference in your life. Thank you teachers!

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