Family Fears For Professor Hawking's Safety
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 20, 2004
CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND--Various news services in England reported Monday that police are investigating allegations of assault on famed astrophysicist Professor Stephen Hawking.
The Daily Mirror said that Hawking's adult children are concerned that the 62-year-old professor has been the target of a number of physical assaults since this past summer. They said an investigation was launched after a nursing staff reported to police that Hawking had experienced a severe heat stroke and sunburn after being left alone in his garden on the hottest day of the year.
Police were unable to confirm the investigation, the newspaper added.
Hawking has had Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a form of motor neuron disease also known as 'Lou Gehrig's Disease", for more than 40 years. The Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University is paralyzed except for the use of some fingers. He uses a motorized wheelchair and communicates through a computerized voice synthesizer.
Hawking is being monitored at a local hospital for pneumonia. Family members said he had not yet been questioned by police.
The newspaper noted that family and medical staff had contacted police in 2000 with reports of unexplained injuries, but that police dropped the investigation because Hawking refused to make a complaint.
Hawking, considered to have one of the most brilliant minds in his field, is the author of "A Brief History of Time".
Three years ago, his visit to India prompted changes in how many in the country viewed wheelchair accessibility. Officials that had invited the esteemed scientist to speak at several Indian universities were visibly embarrassed when their guest had to be carried from place to place because of a lack of wheelchair ramps.