Women are a mystery to British physicist Hawking

LONDON Thu Jan 5, 2012 11:40am EST

1 of 3. Physicist Stephen Hawking is seen in his office at the University of Cambridge in this photo handed out by the Science Museum and dated December 2011. The picture is part of a series of photographic portraits commissioned by the Science Museum to celebrate Hawking's 70th birthday on January 8 2012. The commissioned pictures will go on show in a new display later in January 2012 which will celebrate Hawking's life and achievements.

Credit: Reuters/Handout/Sarah Lee/The Science Museum

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LONDON (Reuters) - The biggest mystery in the universe perplexing one of the world's best known scientists is -- women.

When New Scientist magazine asked "Brief History of Time" author Stephen Hawking what he thinks about most, the Cambridge University professor renowned for unraveling some of the most complex questions in modern physics answered: "Women. They are a complete mystery."

The wheelchair-bound Hawking, who only recently retired from a post once held by Isaac Newton, talked to the magazine in the run-up to celebrations for his 70th birthday about his biggest scientific blunder and his hopes for modern science.

Hawking is due to celebrate his 70th birthday on Sunday with a public symposium entitled "The State of the Universe" at the University of Cambridge's Centre for Theoretical Cosmology.

Hawking heads a list of speakers including British Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Saul Perlmutter and Kip Thorne, one of the world's leading theoretical physicists.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Steve Addison)

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