Stephen Hawking – probably the greatest mind of the last fifty years – right up there with Einstein and Newton – has just fallen into his own black hole. The Hawking radiation of his life will continue to radiate from that black hole for centuries to come.
Here’s a few quotes that I can relate to.
“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason,” Hawking told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in 2010. “Science will win, because it works.” But his work wasn’t all dry rationality. “Science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion,” he told PARADE magazine in 2010.
On the reason the universe exits
“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,” he wrote in his 1988 bestseller ‘A Brief History of Time’.
On finding alien life
“Primitive life is relatively common, but that intelligent life is very rare. Some say it has yet to appear on planet Earth,” he said at an event honoring the 50th anniversary of NASA at George Washington University in 2008.
On climate change
I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet,” he said in an interview with The Telegraph in 2011. “But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.” In recent years, Hawking spoke and wrote about the dangers posed by climate change and the frailties of planet Earth.
Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.
We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.