Cambridge University put Stephen Hawking’s doctoral thesis “Properties of Expanding Universes” up on its site this week, only to have the availability of the document cause the university’s entire site to crash.
According to NPR, the university originally made several different PDF files of the thesis available for download, including a “high resolution” version that was 72MB as well as a reduced version which was roughly half that size.
More than 60,000 people had accessed the document by late Monday, overwhelming Cambridge’s servers.
For some perspective, other “popular” theses on the site have gotten close to 100 views per month.
“By making my Ph.D. thesis Open Access, I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet; to wonder about our place in the universe and to try and make sense of the cosmos,” reads a statement by Hawking issued by the University. “Anyone, anywhere in the world should have free, unhindered access to not just my research, but to the research of every great and enquiring mind across the spectrum of human understanding.”
Previously a paper copy of Hawking’s thesis was available for purchase at Cambridge for an $85 fee.