Stephen Hawking Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

By Allison Bond | August 14, 2009 8:26 am

Stephen HawkingStephen Hawking, the world’s leading theoretical physicist, was among a group of 16 to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award. The medal honors those who have significantly contributed to world peace, U.S. security or other endeavors.

Pres. Barack Obama presented the award, lauding Hawking’s immense contributions in spite of his physical disability due to a neurological disorder.  “From his wheelchair, he has led us on a journey to the farthest and strangest reaches of the cosmos. In so doing, he has stirred our imagination and showed us the power of the human spirit,” [Sky News], Obama said of Hawking as he placed the medal around his neck. Besides his contributions to the field of physics through his research on topics like black holes and cosmology, Hawking, 67, is also the author of the best-selling science book A Brief History of Time.

Along with Hawking, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Mary Robinson, the former United Nations Human Rights Commissioner and Irish president, the actor Sidney Poitier and Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi economist and Nobel peace prize winner [Telegraph] also received the award Wednesday at the White House.

Related Content:
80beats: Good News for Physics: Stephen Hawking Is on the Mend
80beats: This May Sound Strange: Sonic Lasers and Sonic Black Holes

Image courtesy of NASA

  • Jude

    That was good from president Obama to honor those who have made a path for millions of us. It tells us how people, still sick, like Hawking can make a change in life of many.

  • Martin

    No mention of the other scientist who also received the Medal of Freedom, Janet Davison Rowley –

  • Rob Rasner Magic Castle

    OMG; This blog site Stephen Hawking Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom | 80beats | Discover Magazine rocks !… How have one insure that it is look this good :-) By the way how about Obama dramatic news flash… Kudos … Rob Rasner Magic Castle


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


80beats is DISCOVER's news aggregator, weaving together the choicest tidbits from the best articles covering the day's most compelling topics.

See More

Collapse bottom bar