Stephen Hawking Hospitalized

20 April 2009 |

LONDON – Stephen Hawking, the British mathematician and physicist famed for his work on black holes, was rushed to a hospital Monday and was seriously ill, Cambridge University said. Hawking has been fighting a chest infection for several weeks and was being treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, the university city northeast of London, the university said.

"Professor Hawking is very ill," said Gregory Hayman, the university's head of communications. "He is undergoing tests. He has been unwell for a couple of weeks."

Later in the afternoon, Hayman said Hawking was "now comfortable but will be kept in hospital overnight."

The illness had caused Hawking to cancel an appearance at Arizona State University on April 6.

Hawking, 67, gained renown for his work on black holes, and has remained active despite being diagnosed at 21 with ALS, (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), an incurable degenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

For some years, Hawking has been almost entirely paralyzed, and he communicates through an electronic voice synthesizer activated by his fingers.

Hawking was involved in the search for the great goal of physics — a "unified theory" — which would resolve contradictions between Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, which describes the laws of gravity that govern the motion of large objects like planets, and the Theory of Quantum Mechanics, which deals with the world of subatomic particles.

"A complete, consistent unified theory is only the first step: our goal is a complete understanding of the events around us, and of our own existence," he wrote in his best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time," published in 1988.

In a more accessible sequel "The Universe in a Nutshell," published in 2001, Hawking ventured into concepts like supergravity, naked singularities and the possibility of a universe with 11 dimensions.

He announced last year that he would step down from his post as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a title once held by the great 18th-century physicist Isaac Newton. However, the university said Hawking intended to continue working as Emeritus Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

"Professor Hawking is a remarkable colleague. We all hope he will be amongst us again soon," said Peter Haynes, head of the university's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

Brian Dickie, director of research at the Motor Neurone Disease Association, said only 5 percent of people diagnosed with ALS survive for 10 years or longer.

On the Net:

daylight-dreaming.blogspot.comIndian police in Mumbai are probing accusations that the father of a child star of the Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire" tried to sell his daughter for 200,000 pounds ($290,000).

The mother of 9-year-old Rubina Ali protested after a sting operation by a British tabloid alleged her father tried to sell her.

Police called Rubina Ali and her father, Rafiq Qureshi, to a police station on Sunday night and recorded their statements.

"On Sunday, Rubina's mother Khurshid complained to us that her ex-husband was trying to sell her daughter, saying she saw some reports on television to that effect," Deputy Commissioner of Police Nisar Tamboli told Reuters.

The film, a rags-to-riches romance about a slum boy competing on a TV game show, won eight Academy Awards earlier this year but sparked controversy in parts of India.

The sting operation by the News of the World quickly made headlines in India.

Rubina, who starred as the youngest incarnation of the film's heroine, Latika, lives with her father and step-mother in a teeming slum in the suburbs of the financial hub.

Rubina's family denied they were willing to sell her.

"We never thought that we would have to face this. We are poor people, for us, our children are everything. Why would we give her away like that?" Rubina's uncle Moinuddin Qureshi said.

"This is just an attempt to malign her name. After all she has become world famous now, hasn't she?" Qureshi added.

The film's makers set up a fund for the education of Rubina Ali and her young co-star, Azharuddin Ismail. Authorities in Mumbai also said the state would give housing for the children.

The title raised an outcry and sparked protests in parts of India, because "Slumdog" was seen as derogatory to India's millions of slum dwellers.

Rafiq Qureshi has flatly denied that he attempted to sell his Oscar-caliber daughter, saying he was the victim of a "dirty" undercover operation by a U.K. tabloid and that the media had used his family's economic status as a punchline and "made fun of our poverty."

"They tricked us into this fakery, but we came out unscathed," he told the BBC, adding that they trapped him in a situation of "great temptation" which he managed to resist.

Qureshi said that he received a phone call from people claiming to be a wealthy Arab couple who wanted to help his daugher, Slumdog Millionaire star Rubina Ali. After several meetings, Qureshi became aware that "they were making a deal on my child."

He refused, but returned home to find reports of his dealmaking on TV.

"They played dirty with us, but we didn't accept any money from them. My daughter is not for sale."

In an attempt to escape the real-life slums of Mumbai, the father of Slumdog Millionaire sweetie Rubina Ali reportedly tried to illegally sell his 9-year-old daughter for roughly $300,000.

Mumbai police brought both the girl and her father, Rafiq Qureshi, in for questioning Sunday night after Qureshi unknowingly spoke to the British tabloid News of the World and offered several shocking allegations as to why cashing in on his daughter's fame was perfectly acceptable.

"On Sunday, Rubina's mother Khurshid complained to us that her ex-husband was trying to sell her daughter, saying she saw some reports on television to that effect," Deputy Commissioner of Police Nisar Tamboli told Reuters.

Police called Ali, who stars as Slumdog's youngest Latika, and her father, with whom she lives, to the station last night and recorded statements from each.

"We've got nothing out of [Slumdog Millionaire]," Qureshi told the News of the World during the tabloid's sting. "They gave some money at the start, but they gave nothing afterwards. They gave us around 150,000 rupees [$3,000]. I have to consider what's best for me, my family and Rubina's future."

But his allegations run counter to statements from filmmakers and local officials.

The Oscar-winning film's producer, Christian Colson, told Britain's Daily Mail last night that, for their part, the filmmakers are doing everything they can to get to the truth of what happened to Ali.

"We have friends and colleagues in Bombay who are trying to speak with Mr. Qureshi to get to the bottom of what happened," he said. "Her family is under a lot of pressure."

Just days ago, director Danny Boyle & Co. donated $750,000 to a Mumbai children's charity on top of an additional $750,000 for the education and housing of both Ali and Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, the youngest Salim.

Both Boyle and Colson are planning to visit the young stars next month.

"Danny and I are committed to Rubina and Azharuddin for the long term," he said. "We are trying to keep a roof over their heads, and keep them in school until they are 18. The problem is there are a lot of parties who are telling the parents different things.

"We agreed to buy apartments a couple of months ago, but that process stalled because they decided they wanted the money up front instead. In the past few days we have got things back on track, and are now back looking at apartments."

Meanwhile, Indian authorities also promised to provide homes in Mumbai following the massive success of Slumdog Millionaire at this year's Oscars.

It has yet to comment on the allegations.

As Britney Spears continues her Circus tour throughout California this week, Spears' alleged trespasser Miranda Tozier-Robbins spoke exclusively to E! News about why she snuck onto the pop star's property and the reason she believes things have been blown out of proportion.

Tozier-Robbins, 26, is a former American Idol hopeful who says she has been in Los Angeles for about a month and a half and is actively pursing an entertainment industry career in numerous fields, one being paparazzi-like documentary filmmaking.

According to Tozier-Robbins, Britney's house was simply chosen because of its convenient location and perfect timing—she knew Spears would be in L.A. for her tour this week and apparently her address is available online.

"The documentary is more or less just, [me] on the way to Britney's house, going on the bicycle ride, the camping out in the woods," says Tozier-Robbins.

While she confesses to being a fan of Spears, Tozier-Robbins claims that she is in no way a stalker. "There's no obsession with Britney. Somebody else can go ahead and claim the title of Britney's stalker, because I sure as heck don't want it, you know!"

Once on the property, Tozier-Robbins was immediately caught by a Spears security guard and arrested for trespassing. She received a citation and was released.

But Tozier-Robbins tells E! that she would do something like this again in the future—minus the trespassing.

Meredith Grey's anatomy is rapidly enlarging: Ellen Pompeo has a McBun in the oven, her rep confirms to E! News.

This will be the first child for Pompeo, 39, and husband, Chris Ivery, 41.

"It's great news. They're ecstatic," Jennifer Allen told People, who first reported the happy news.

The Grey's Anatomy star and her music-producing beau wed in 2007.

With the show wrapping soon for its summer hiatus, it's unlikely Pompeo's pregnancy will need to be addressed in a TV storyline.

But there appears to be something in the water at Seattle Grace. Chyler Leigh, who plays Pompeo's onscreen sister, Lexie Grey, is due with her third child next month, and producers managed to keep her burgeoning belly disguised.