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What is ALS, the Disease Stephen Hawking Defied

Stephen Hawking, 1980s

When renowned physicist, cosmologist, and author Stephen Hawkins was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, at age 21, the future for the then-Cambridge University student didn’t look promising and his years were numbered. But while reaching age 40 would have been a feat, Hawking has defied ALS and will celebrate his 70th birthday on Sunday, January 8.