Page last updated at 09:39 GMT, Sunday, 26 October 2008

Hawking to give up academic title

Professor Stephen Hawking
Professor Stephen Hawking has held the academic title since 1979

Professor Stephen Hawking is to give up a prestigious academic title.

The physicist, who has motor neurone disease, will give up his position as Cambridge University's Lucasian Professor of Mathematics next year.

The university said it was policy for holders of the title to retire at 67 and Prof Hawking will be 67 in January.

Prof Hawking, who is one of the world's leading cosmologists, will continue working at the university and a new Lucasian Professor will be appointed.

Previous holders of the title, founded by MP Henry Lucas in 1663, include Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage, Sir Joseph Larmor and Sir James Lighthill.

Prof Hawking, who began work in Cambridge in 1962 and has held the Lucasian Professorship since 1979, gained fame following the publication of his best-selling book A Brief History of Time in 1988.

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