What were Stephen Hawkings’ major contributions to physics, and which topics was he working on just before his death?

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What were Stephen Hawkings’ major contributions to physics, and which topics was he working on just before his death?

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I think he is mostly known for his work on black holes in combination with quantum mechanics. If you’re really interested, you should read his books, for example “Brief answers to the big questions”. It is an interesting book, which is relatively easy to read and also speaks about his past in more detail.

A lot of our understanding of Black Holes and how they behave is classical (ie. not quantum). Hawking was part of a lot of early work in looking at how Black Holes interact with things from a quantum perspective. Most notably this led to the realisation Black Holes emit radiation, called Hawking radiation.

Before his death he was looking into resolutions to the Black Hole information paradox. The idea is that information is conserved in a similar way to energy in the universe, but Black Holes violate this because you lose track of what’s inside them and can never find out. There are a couple of ideas about how to resolve this, Hawking was working on one which postulated the information gets encoded into the Hawking radiation the BH radiates away, so the information is conserved that way.

I’m a big fan of the Professor. In this [link](https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/144184/what-are-stephen-hawkings-main-contributions-to-research-level-physics) few researchers “rate” his biggest contributions, a (full list of everything published would take several pages)

>What is almost never mentioned, however, is what Hawking actually did in his active time as a physics researcher. His long history of winning awards and holding one of the most prestigious professorships in the world speaks for itself.

Before his death he was working on *“top-down cosmology” theory, which asserts that the Universe consists of a superposition of many alternative initial circumstances rather than a single unique initial state.” (2006)*

edit: link to [https://www.thetechoutlook.com/featured/stephen-hawkings-6-most-important-discoveries/](https://www.thetechoutlook.com/featured/stephen-hawkings-6-most-important-discoveries/)