The recent passing of world-renowned physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking has been a sad loss to both the scientific fraternity and the world in general. He was one of few scientists who put considerable effort into making complex concepts comprehensible to the general public.
Hawking was diagnosed with ALS at 21 and at the time, he was told he only had 2 years to live. It is safe to say that Hawking’s put up a good fight, as he passed away at the age of 76 in mid-March. Hawking was also well known for his stubbornness (his family firmly believe this kept him going), his harsh and entertaining wit, and a penchant for gambling.
In his passing he has left us with some gems to remember him by. Including his stories about quantum gambling, where he spent hours trying to explain that a dog in the 7:20 race did, and did not place at the same time, and was banned from Vegas for quantum card counting. Which begs the question; could you use the quantum theory when playing casino games to become rich? Who knows? Well, Stephen Hawking does, that’s who!
As a tribute to a man that will be greatly missed on all fronts, we’ve rounded up our top 10 favourite quotes that came straight from the horses mouth:
Our Top Ten Hawking Quotes
- “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.” Good advice no matter the disability.
- “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.” This should really be everyone’s goal.
- “I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” Sage advice, always look before you cross the road, literally and figuratively.
- “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.” Sad, but true!
- “If you jump into a black hole, your mass energy will be returned to our universe but in a mangled form which contains the information about what you were like but in a state where it cannot be easily recognized. It is like burning an encyclopaedia. Information is not lost, if one keeps the smoke and the ashes. But it is difficult to read.” It was this statement that caused him to lose one of his many bets. He originally believed that anything that travelled through a black hole would be gone forever. This also put paid to the theory that one could travel to other universes through black holes.
- “When we understand string theory, we will know how the universe began. It won’t have much effect on how we live, but it is important to understand where we come from and what we can expect to find as we explore.” String theory is the basis for his 1000:1 bet that Manchester United will win the league in 2018.
- “Women. They are a complete mystery.” You don’t need to be a genius to figure this out.
- “One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.” Advice Hawking’s gave his kids, but excellent advice for people in general.
- “If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.” This really highlights the damage humans have done as we have advanced.
- “I am just a child who has never grown up. I still keep asking these ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. Occasionally, I find an answer.” Keep asking the question.
Greatness Is Never Forgotten
Hawking believed that the brain is a computer that fails when its components fail and that there is no afterlife. However, he did make sure he would be remembered long after he has ‘shutdown’, by leaving a legacy of greatness.