Stephen Hawking PhD release causes Cambridge University website to crash
It’s the first time it’s been made freely available online
Cambridge University’s website temporarily crashed earlier today as fans flocked to read Stephen Hawking’s PhD thesis, which had been made available to the general public for the first time.
Professor Hawking’s 'Properties of expanding universes' (1966) was made openly accessible on the website at 00.01 BST.
Previously, people had to pay £65 to scan a copy, or physically go into the University Library to read it for free. With 199 orders since May 2016, it is the library’s most requested publication.
Professor Hawking told BBC News that, by making it freely available, he hoped 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."
"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 added that he hoped people weren’t "disappointed" now they "finally have access to it!"
So far, over 60,000 people have viewed the 134-page work he produced as a 24-year-old postgraduate student at Trinity Hall, who later went on to write 'A Brief History of Time.' Widely regarded as one of the most influential scientific works ever written, it has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
It is hoped that Professor Hawking’s decision will encourage other former academics to make their work available freely available to the public.