Early in his life, teachers recognized Hawking as intelligent, but he wasn’t a particularly good student. He was near the bottom of his class during his first year at St. Alban’s School. Hawking pursued a number of interests outside of school. In his teenage years, Hawking and several of his friends built a rudimentary computer out of spare, recycled parts to solve simple mathematical equations. He began attending University College at Oxford University in 1959 at the age of 17. Hawking wished to study mathematics but the school didn’t offer mathematics degrees, so he instead focused on physics and cosmology. He went on to obtain his doctorate in applied mathematics and theoretical physics, specializing in general relativity and cosmology.
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