Friday, January 8, 2010

Birthday triple: Presley, Bowie and Hawking!

It's January 8th, which is the birthday of at least three icons that I can think of. Arguably the most famous of the three is a person who seems to be on first name terms with the entire world: Elvis. Born Elvis Aaron Presley in 1935, Elvis played a major part in the transformation of popular music. He was a leading star in the musical style that was emerging at the time and came to be known as rock 'n roll. Elvis allegedly lived a rollercoaster lifestyle which mixed up military service and the death of his mother at a young age with being a musical figurehead and sex symbol to millions of adoring fans. In the early seventies Elvis's health began to deteriorate, partly due to prescription drug abuse. Elvis died on August 16th 1977 at the age of 42.

David Bowie, another iconic musican, was born David Robert Jones in 1947. Bowie is a multi-instrumentalist, but is arguably most well known for his distinctive voice. He has been cited as a major influence by many musicans, and is widely regarded as an innovative musician with great intellectual depth to much of his work.

Stephen William Hawking was born in 1942, and is a British theoretical physicist with a career spanning more than forty years. In 1963, whilst enrolled at Cambridge University, he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, most likely a variant known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Survival of more than ten years after diagnosis of ALS is rare, and doctors at the time predicted Hawking to live for no more than three years. Sixteen years later, he took up the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, which he held for thirty years, giving up the post in 2009. He is most well known for his contributions to the field of cosmology and his popular sciences successes, most notably his book A Brief History of Time.

Just a brief plug, kind of related to the last icon: If you're at all interested in space science, astronomy, cosmology and related fields, please head on over to Blogstronomy and have a look round, comment, and ask those questions you've always wanted to know the answer to!