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Bono calls him 'the scientist of U2' and this past weekend Edge was in England celebrating the 60th birthday of one of the world's great minds.

In Cambridge for the birthday celebrations of Stephen Hawking - the author of A Brief History of Time - Edge revealed his own fascination with the subject.

'I am a very interested amateur who wanted to come along and learn something about the state of the art,' he told reporters. 'So far I have learnt a lot.'

Edge met up with Sir Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal in the UK. 'I'm a big fan of Martin's, certainly after today, his talk this morning ('Our Complex Cosmos and its Future') was fantastic.'

Since 1979, Professor Hawking has been Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge university, a post awarded to Sir Isaac Newton in 1669. His best-selling book has given him a popular status enjoyed by few scientists, even making guest appearances on The Simpsons and Star Trek.

Professor Hawking explains on his own website that one of his achievements has been to show, together with Sir Roger Penrose, that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity implies space and time have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes.

'It has been a glorious time to be alive and doing research in theoretical physics, he told the audience of 200. 'Our picture of the universe has changed a great deal in the past 40 years and I am happy if I have made a small contribution.'

And maybe there is further fame for Hawking ahead.... in a hit song maybe ?

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