Ever wondered how Stephen Hawking saw the universe as a doctoral candidate, when his theories about black holes were just coming into fruition? You don't have to hear about it second-hand -- you can now go straight to the source. The legendary cosmologist has published his 1966 doctoral thesis online for anyone to read, making it available to the public for the first time. Hawking is posting his work in hopes that it'll spark interests in both space itself and sharing research. "I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet," he said.
Needless to say, it's not light reading. Hawking used the expansion of the universe to challenge an existing gravitational theory (there's no way galaxies could form as a result of early perturbations, he argued) and provide a model of gravitational radiation and expansion that shows space-time singularities are "inevitable."
Whether or not you take a look, there was plenty of pent-up demand. Cambridge University said the paper was the "most-requested" work for its open repository, receiving "hundreds" of requests. It'll also help open the floodgates. All Cambridge graduates will have to offer digital copies of their theses from now on, and they're being encouraged to make them public. Hawking's move might give them the confidence boost they need -- they'll know there's nothing to fear by disclosing their work.