Stephen Hawking’s PhD thesis is proving so popular that it has broken the internet, sort of.
Or rather, it has broken the part of the internet that Cambridge University used to put it online. So many people are trying to access the important essay that the website has completely broken.
The university expected the essay to prove popular, since it gives an insight into the mind of the 24-year-old who would go on to be one of the most recognise and important scientists in the world. But it surely can’t have expected it to be quite so popular, and bring down the Apollo system on which it is held.
Nasa’s most stunning pictures of space
Cambridge said when it posted the article online that even the library catalogue page was easily its most popular, and that it was viewed hundreds of times per month.
It hopes that popularity can encourage other students and alumni to put their PhD thesis on the university’s open access site. Essays uploaded there can be read by anyone, and Professor Hawking supported the hope that his thesis could not only help others read and understand his ideas but also inspire them to share their own.
“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,” said Professor Hawking. “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.
“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. 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!”
Anyone can now head to the Apollo system and look up Professor Hawking’s 1966 thesis, ‘Properties of expanding universes’, by clicking here. But for now that page might not load.