Isobel Hawking

Her lifestory

Isobel was born in Scotland on March 3, 1915, the daughter of James and Agnes Walker. She was one of the few women to study economics, politics and philosophy at Oxford. She worked for several years in jobs far below her level.

She married Frank Hawking, a recognized expert in tropical medicine. In 1942, during the Second World War, she became the mother of Stephen Hawking, who was later to become a world-famous theoretical physicist and astronomer. In addition to Stephen, she had three other children: Mary, Edward and Philippa. She passed away on April 6, 2013

Before the birth

Did Isobel know about her son’s disability? No. In her time, the possibilities of prenatal diagnosis were not available. Would she have aborted her child if she had known? We don’t know.

Today, other diseases and disabilities can be diagnosed prenatally. For example, trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), trisomy 18, monosomy, Klinefelter syndrome. In addition, heart defects, malformations of the spine, spinal cord and brain. They all usually result in an abortion.