The famed professor just made Cambridge University’s website crash after his thesis was released online, getting 2 million views.
How many academic professors can say that they caused a major university’s website to crash because of how popular their thesis paper was? Probably pretty much no one, but that’s exactly what happened when Stephen Hawking’s Ph.D. thesis was posted on their website, where it was viewed more than two million times.
The paper, titled “Properties of Expanding Universes,” was made available for download in PDF form, and the people flooding to the site to download the paper quickly overwhelmed the servers. In just hours, it had been viewed more than 60,000 times, and so far that figure is above two million. Even a popular thesis on their site would normally only get 100 views per month, by comparison.
The reason Hawking decided to release it online, although it’s always been available in the Cambridge University library, is because he wanted to inspire people to “look up at the stars and not down at their feet,” he said according to reports.
“Anyone, anywhere in the world should have free, unhindered access to not just my research, but to the research of every great and enquiring mind across the spectrum of human understanding,” said Stephen Hawking, as printed in a statement from the university. “Each generation stands on the shoulders of those who have gone before them, just as I did as a young PhD student in Cambridge, inspired by the work of Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell and Albert Einstein. It’s wonderful to hear how many people have already shown an interest in downloading my thesis – hopefully they won’t be disappointed now that they finally have access to it!”