Stephen Hawking Steps Down from Cambridge Chair

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LONDON — Physicist Stephen Hawking stepped down Wednesday as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University after 30 years in the post.

The roughly 350-year-old position has been held by such luminaries as Isaac Newton and Charles Babbage, one of the fathers of modern computing. It is customary for professors to retire from the post the year they turn 67. Hawking, who reached that age in January, will continue to work at the university as director of research at a department dealing with applied mathematics and theoretical physics.

"This is an exciting time in cosmology with new observational results coming in thick and fast and large-scale terrestrial and satellite experiments under way," Hawking said in a statement. "I want to make sure this progress is matched by the development of theories of the Universe which are both mathematically consistent and observationally testable."

Hawking is famous for his research on black holes and his popular works in theoretical physics, including the book "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes."

The university has advertised for a new Lucasian Professor and a replacement will be announced shortly.