Stephen Hawking quotes

Stephen Hawking quotes


Hawking’s quotes range from notable to poetic to controversial. Among them:

  • "Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing? " 

  • "All of my life, I have been fascinated by the big questions that face us, and have tried to find scientific answers to them. If, like me, you have looked at the stars, and tried to make sense of what you see, you too have started to wonder what makes the universe exist." 

  • "Science predicts that many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing. It is a matter of chance which we are in." 

  • "The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired. " 

  • "We should seek the greatest value of our action." 

  • "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." 

  • "Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change." 

  • "It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value. " 

  • "One cannot really argue with a mathematical theorem." 

  • "It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven't done badly. People won't have time for you if you are always angry or complaining." 

A list of Hawking quotes would be incomplete without mentioning some of his more controversial statements.

He has said humans must leave Earth if we wish to survive: "It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million. … Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward-looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space."
He has also said time travel should be possible, and that we should explore space for the romance of it: "Science is not only a disciple of reason, but, also, one of romance and passion."

Hawking also waded into the topic of religion with this doozie: "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. … There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

The theoretical physicist is also concerned that robots could prove the doom of humanity. “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” he told the BBC in 2014. Hawking added, however, that AI developed to date has been helpful. It's more the self-replication potential that worries him.

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