Sunday 27 May 2018

Stephen Hawking death: 12 pearls of wisdom from one of the world's most famous scientists

FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 28, 2016 file photo Pope Francis greets physicist Stephen Hawking during an audience with participants at a plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, at the Vatican. (L'Osservatore Romano/pool photo via AP, File)
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 28, 2016 file photo Pope Francis greets physicist Stephen Hawking during an audience with participants at a plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, at the Vatican. (L'Osservatore Romano/pool photo via AP, File)
File photo dated 9/12/2014 of Professor Stephen Hawking (front), who has died aged 76, with (from left) Felicity Jones, Jane Hawking and Eddie Redmayne, attending the UK Premiere of The Theory of Everything at the Odeon Leicester Square, London. Ian West/PA Wire
File photo dated 25/02/12 of Professor Stephen Hawking, who has died aged 76, posing beside a lamp titled 'black hole light' by inventor Mark Champkins, presented to him during his visit to the Science Museum in London. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
File photo dated 09/09/1992 Professor Stephen Hawking, who had died aged 76, and Nobel Prize winner Dorothy Hodgkin, with their portraits unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in London. /PA Wire
File photo dated 08/02/2015 of Eddie Redmayne and Professor Stephen Hawking, who has died aged 76, arriving at the After-party dinner for the EE British Academy Film Awards at Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire
File photo dated 19/09/08 of Professor Stephen Hawking, who has died aged 76, during the unveiling of The Corpus Clock, a new installation at Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University. Chris Radburn/PA Wire
File photo dated 29/04/10 of Professor Stephen Hawking, who has died aged 76, watching the first preview of his new show for the Discovery Channel, Stephen Hawking's Universe. David Parry/PA Wire
U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to scientist Stephen Hawking during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, August 12, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File photo
CEO of ZERO-G Peter Diamandis (L) and British physicist Stephen Hawking stand on lift truck after his flight at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida April 26, 2007. REUTERS/Charles W Luzier/File photo
Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and his daughter Lucy arrive at the British Academy of Film and Arts (BAFTA) awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London February 8, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File photo
Former South African President Nelson Mandela (R) meets theoretical physicist professor Stephen Hawking at Mandela's Foundation office in Johannesburg May 15, 2008. Pool/via REUTERS/File photo
Microsoft President Bill Gates (L), accompanied by University Vice-Chancellor Professor Alec Broers, meets Professor Stephen Hawking on a visit to Cambridge University October 7, 1997. REUTERS/Stringer/File photo
Jane Wilde Hawking kisses her ex-husband Stephen Hawking as she arrives at the UK premiere of the film "The Theory of Everything" which is based around Stephen Hawking's life, at a cinema in central London December 9, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Winning/File
British physicist Stephen Hawking delivers a lecture on "The Origin of the Universe" at the Heysel conference hall in Brussels May 20, 2007. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File photo
Britain's Queen Elizabeth (L) meets Stephen Hawking during a reception for Leonard Cheshire Disability charity at St James's Palace in London May 29, 2014. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS/File photo
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Stephen Hawking captured the public's imagination as a trapped mind exploring the boundaries of scientific knowledge. Here are some memorable pearls of wisdom from one of the world's most famous scientists:

- On the reason why the universe exists: "If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we would know the mind of God" - A Brief History Of Time, published 1988.

- On being diagnosed with motor neurone disease: "My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus" - Interview in The New York Times, December 2004.

hawking001.jpg
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 28, 2016 file photo Pope Francis greets physicist Stephen Hawking during an audience with participants at a plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, at the Vatican. (L'Osservatore Romano/pool photo via AP, File)

- On black holes: "Einstein was wrong when he said, 'God does not play dice'. Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can't be seen" - The Nature Of Space And Time, published 1996.

- On God: "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going" - The Grand Design, published 2010.

- On commercial success: "I want my books sold on airport bookstalls" - Interview in The New York Times, December 2004.

hawking013.jpg
Jane Wilde Hawking kisses her ex-husband Stephen Hawking as she arrives at the UK premiere of the film "The Theory of Everything" which is based around Stephen Hawking's life, at a cinema in central London December 9, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Winning/File

- On fame: "The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognised. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away" - Interview on Israeli TV, December 2006.

- On an imperfect world: "Without imperfection, you or I would not exist" - In Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking, The Discovery Channel, 2010.

hawking012.jpg
Former South African President Nelson Mandela (R) meets theoretical physicist professor Stephen Hawking at Mandela's Foundation office in Johannesburg May 15, 2008. Pool/via REUTERS/File photo

- On euthanasia: "The victim should have the right to end his life, if he wants. But I think it would be a great mistake. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there's life, there is hope" - Quoted in People's Daily Online, June 2006.

- On intellectual showboating: "People who boast about their IQ are losers" - Interview in The New York Times, December 2004.

hawking014.jpg
Britain's Queen Elizabeth (L) meets Stephen Hawking during a reception for Leonard Cheshire Disability charity at St James's Palace in London May 29, 2014. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS/File photo

- On the possibility of contact between humans and aliens: "I think it would be a disaster. The extraterrestrials would probably be far in advance of us. The history of advanced races meeting more primitive people on this planet is not very happy, and they were the same species. I think we should keep our heads low" - In Naked Science: Alien Contact, The National Geographic Channel, 2004.

- On the importance of having a sense of humour: "Life would be tragic if it weren't funny" - Interview in The New York Times, December 2004.

- On death: "I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first" - Interview in The Guardian, May 2011.

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News