Professor Stephen Hawking launches St Albans School appeal

PUBLISHED: 12:36 26 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:36 26 February 2014

Professor Stephen Hawking attended a fundraising appeal for St Albans School at the Science Museum in London. Behind Prof Hawking, from left are, Lord Renfrew, Michael Church, Mike Newell, Sir Tim Rice and Sir Martin Smith

Professor Stephen Hawking attended a fundraising appeal for St Albans School at the Science Museum in London. Behind Prof Hawking, from left are, Lord Renfrew, Michael Church, Mike Newell, Sir Tim Rice and Sir Martin Smith

photo supplied

Professor Stephen Hawking was guest of honour at the recent launch of an appeal to raise millions of pounds for expansion of his former school in St Albans.

The world-famous physicist and author of A Brief History of Time joined fellow alumni from St Albans School at the Science Museum in London.

The school, at Abbey Gateway, hopes to secure millions of pounds towards renovations and expansion of its science and performing arts facilities, and to help double the number of bursaries and scholarships it offers future pupils.

Event attendees included lyricist and author Sir Tim Rice, BAFTA award-winning film director Mike Newell and the former chairman of English National Opera Sir Martin Smith.

The school currently provides bursaries and scholarships to up to 30 students each year.

Professor Hawking, a direct grant student whose school friends nicknamed him “Einstein”, confessed that his father had wanted the young prodigy to move from St Albans to Westminster, as it would offer him greater social advancement.

He joked: “Lack of social graces has not been a hindrance.”

Professor Hawking added that he found physics “easy” because it was “obvious”.

However the renowned physicist is still pondering who the winner is following a bet made while at the public school – two of his classmates bet for a bag of sweets that their friend would never amount to anything.

Sir Martin said that achievements at St Albans School came at a cost, adding, “schools have to be more commercial today than ever before.

“St Albans is looking to make necessary improvements to its science and performing arts facilities, as well as creating further bursaries to enable less privileged but equally talented children to benefit from the opportunities that the school will allow.”

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