Stephen Hawking recovers from illness to deliver BBC Reith Lecture

The physicist will record his postponed BBC lecture series next month, ready to air in January and February 2016

Professor Stephen Hawking has recovered from his illness and will deliver his Reith Lecture next month.


The world-renowned physicist, who suffers from motor neurone disease, was due to deliver the prestigious BBC lecture, which was to be on the subject of black holes, at the Royal Institution in central London in November. But he had to pull out due to illness.

“BBC Radio 4 has today confirmed the rescheduling of the BBC Reith Lectures with Professor Stephen Hawking, which will now air in the New Year on 26th January and 2nd February,” a BBC spokeswoman told

The lectures will be recorded on Thursday 7th January at the Royal Institute in London.

An audience of leading figures from academia, science and the arts will be in attendance for the talk, which Professor Hawking hopes will “encourage people to imagine and explore the possibilities of science – both the known, and the as yet unknown”.

“I will describe the remarkable properties of black holes, including the fact that very small black holes aren’t black at all, but glow like hot bodies,” he said.

“We should never stop trying to tell these extraordinary stories from science, and I hope my Reith Lecture will enthuse a new generation to develop ideas that will have an impact on our understanding of the world and never to be overwhelmed by the task of discovery.”

The BBC Reith Lectures began in 1948, with a talk by philosopher Bertrand Russell. Last year, surgeon Atul Gawande gave a series of talks about the future of medicine.

Past lecturers include artist Grayson Perry, politician Aung San Suu Kyi and conductor Daniel Barenboim.


Professor Hawking’s lecture coincides with BBC Radio 4’s plans to mark the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity with a series of programmes.