Stephen Hawking, the renowned British physicist, is said to be seriously ill and in hospital with a lung deficiency. See photos and a video below.

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Stephen Hawking

The famous author of “A Brief History of Time” was rushed to Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge. A Cambridge University spokesman said Professor Hawking has been “unwell” for a couple of weeks. He had just returned from the U.S. to Britain over the weekend. While a specific diagnosis has not been revealed reports are that Hawking is fighting a chest infection.

Professor Hawking is considered one the world’s foremost authorities on the origins of the universe. He is know for his work on quantum gravity, black holes and cosmology – and from this work came his celebrated book “A Brief History of Time.”

He began developing the symptoms of motor neurone disease, known as Lou Gehrigs disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – ALS) as a student at Oxford, at age 21. As the disease progressed, he was wheelchair-bound and unable to speak. A Cambridge scientist developed a device that allows him to write on a computer by using his own body movements. He speaks through a voice synthesizer.

In April 2007, Hawking took a simulated space flight in an airplane where he experienced eight rounds of weightlessness. Hawking handled the flight extremely well, even in his frail physical condition. This flight was a test-run to see if Hawking could handle a real space flight, perhaps scheduled for 2009. He passed the test with flying colors. A few years ago, Hawking said his “next goal is to go into space.” He was given only a few years to live after his paralyzing diagnosis. The Director of Research at the Motor Neurone Disease Association said only five percent of people diagnosed with ALS survive for ten years or longer.

Professor Hawking believes that the earth is in great peril.

The human race must move to a planet beyond our solar System to protect the future of the species…Once we spread out into space and establish colonies, our future should be safe.

The venerable scientist developed a model of the universe based on the concepts of “real time,” and “imaginary time.” The theory is that the “real time” we experience may be very different than the time the world may actually operate under.

From this theory, Hawking bebunked The Big Bang, saying that God was not needed to get the Universe going:

The universe is self-contained, and without boundary, in imaginary time. However, in real time, the universe will appear to begin at the Big Bank (the explosion thought to be at the origin of the universe….The laws of physics will hold everywhere, so it is not necessary to believe that God intervened to set it going.

Hawking is currently the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He has announced plans to retire the post sometime in 2009. In the video below, Hawking speaks about the universe, the formation of earth, how life came to be on earth, evolution – and even UFO’s and aliens. As information on Hawking’s condition becomes available, we will update here.

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Stephen Hawking (Photos)

Professor Hawking