Ask anyone to name 5 famous scientists and chances are one of them will be Stephen Hawking. He is along the few scientists to become major pop culture figures along with Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Neil Degrass Tyson. Within the physics world, he is renowned for his theory of black holes and time. In the literary world, he brought an understanding of physics to mainstream readers through his bestselling book “The Brief History of Time.” Some people of my generation (or maybe just me) know him from his guest appearance on the Simpsons and Futurama. But people most recognized is the image of the man leaning in his electric wheelchair, talking through the electric speaker. It may be because they see a man who achieved incredible success despite having been afflicted with ALS. The one who was right by him through his diagnosis and early works was Jane Hawking, who wrote about her life with Stephen in the memoir traveling to Infinity. That book was the inspiration for The Theory of Everything, a biopic about Stephen’s early theories, his early diagnosis and the love that helped him cope with it.
It’s 1963 and when we first meet Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), he is a charmingly awkward Oxford student studying theoretical physics. He is also a procrastinator and tends to sleep until noon.It is at Oxford that he meets Jane (Felicity Jones), an arts student studying romance languages and literature. The moment they lock eyes at each other, it’s love at first sight. They start out with a bunch of awkward conversation before they have the classic kiss on a bridge.
Despite his slacker habit, he is able to answer ten “impossible” questions given by his Professor Sciama (David Thewlis). When trying to come up with a thesis, he attends a seminar about the black holes. He begins work on a thesis about the possibility of a black hole at the beginning of the universe.
But then he starts having trouble with his hands and feet. He has trouble holding chalk. And then he trips over his own feet and slams his head on concrete. The doctor diagnoses a motor neuron disease and is expected to only live for two years. This sends him into a state of severe depression, spending his days lying on the ground in despair. Jane is the one who gives him the will to keep going on with his research. Their love comes in full circle and they get married. She stays with him when he goes from crutches to the wheelchair and surpasses the two year life expectancy.