April 21, 2009 / 11:35 AM / 11 years ago

Physicist Stephen Hawking "comfortable" in hospital

Professor Stephen Hawking, one of the world's foremost physicists, addresses a public meeting in Cape Town, May 11, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

LONDON (Reuters) - Physicist Stephen Hawking, the author of “A Brief History of Time” who is almost completely paralyzed by motor neurone disease, was comfortable in hospital on Tuesday, his university said.

Hawking, 67, was rushed on Monday to Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, the city where he is a professor of applied mathematics and theoretical physics.

“Professor Hawking is being kept in for observation at Addenbrooke’s hospital this morning. He is comfortable and his family is looking forward to him making a full recovery,” the university said in a statement on Tuesday.

Hawking, who is only able to speak through a computer-generated voice synthesizer, had been ill for a couple of weeks, with his condition deteriorating since he returned from a trip to the United States at the weekend, a source said.

He canceled an appearance at Arizona State University on April 6 due to a chest infection. A pre-recorded lecture was played to a science conference instead.

Hawking is renowned for his work on black holes, cosmology and quantum gravity.

His books have helped to bring complex theories of physics and time to a mass audience. He achieved global recognition with the publication in 1988 of “A Brief History of Time,” an account of the origins of the universe.

Hawking began suffering from motor neurone disease in his early 20s but went on to establish himself as one of the world’s leading scientific authorities, and is constantly called upon to comment on new discoveries in astronomy and physics.

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