Hawking attends Oxford University, his father’s old college, at the age of 17. Despite feeling that he had performed badly, he is awarded a First Class degree after specializing in physics and natural sciences.
The prevailing attitude at Oxford at that time was very anti-work. You were supposed to be brilliant without effort, or accept your limitations and get a fourth-class degree. To work hard to get a better class of degree was regarded as the mark of a grey man – the worst epithet in the Oxford vocabulary.