Centre for Theoretical Cosmology News

Intel wishes Stephen Hawking a microscopic "Happy Birthday"

At a ceremony at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology, Professor Martin Curley, Intel Vice-President and Director of Intel Labs Europe, paid tribute to Stephen Hawking and his "heroic career" as he presented him with a unique gift.

The result of a competition for Intel employees to come up with a suitable gift for the Professor, it featured a silicon "wafer", normally used for the manufacture of Intel chips, with the wording "Happy Birthday Stephen Hawking" inscribed hundreds of times in nano-scale copper lines. Each letter measures about 10 microns, which is approximately ten times smaller than the width of a human hair.

"This is a very special gift for a very extraordinary scientist and an extraordinary man," said Professor Curley. "Professor Hawking's ground breaking scientific contributions and his remarkable resilience are an inspiration to us all."

In reply Professor Hawking thanked Intel for the gift but remarked that he might need to get a new prescription for his glasses in order to read it.

The silicon wafer was presented to Professor Hawking as a follow-up to the State of the Universe symposium celebrating his 70th birthday last year which was sponsored by Intel.

"We have a long-standing relationship with Professor Hawking," said Justin Rattner, Intel Chief Technology Officer and Director of Intel Labs. "We are very pleased to continue to support the work of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology and to work closely with Professor Hawking on improving his communication system."

At the ceremony Intel also announced it sponsorship of the COSMO 2013 International Conference on Particle Physics and Cosmology, to be held in Cambridge in September this year. High profile speakers are scheduled to attend and Professor Hawking, Professor Brian Cox and Professor David Spergel will give public lectures.

Stephen Hawking with Martin Curley and members of the CTC

Stephen Hawking with Martin Curley and members of the CTC (Copyright © 2013 by Tim Holt, all rights reserved)