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List T – Stephen Hawking – Quotes


  1. The cyclic universe theory predicts no gravitational waves from the early universe.

  2. The doctor who diagnosed me with ALS, or motor neuron disease, told me that it would kill me in two or three years.

  3. The fastest manned vehicle in history was Apollo 10. It reached 25,000 mph.

  4. The human race may be the only intelligent beings in the galaxy.

  5. The media need superheroes in science just as in every sphere of life, but there is really a continuous range of abilities with no clear dividing line.

  6. The missing link in cosmology is the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

  7. The Paralympic Games is about transforming our perception of the world.

  8. The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.

  9. The Planck satellite may detect the imprint of the gravitational waves predicted by inflation. This would be quantum gravity written across the sky.

  10. The radiation left over from the Big Bang is the same as that in your microwave oven but very much less powerful. It would heat your pizza only to minus 271.3*C – not much good for defrosting the pizza, let alone cooking it.

  11. ‘The Simpsons’ appearances were great fun. But I don’t take them too seriously. I think ‘The Simpsons’ have treated my disability responsibly.

  12. The universe is governed by science. But science tells us that we can’t solve the equations, directly in the abstract.

  13. The universe is not indifferent to our existence – it depends on it.

  14. 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?

  15. The voice I use is a very old hardware speech synthesizer made in 1986. I keep it because I have not heard a voice I like better and because I have identified with it.

  16. 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.

  17. Theology is unnecessary.

  18. Theoretical physics is one of the few fields in which being disabled is no handicap – it is all in the mind.

  19. There are grounds for cautious optimism that we may now be near the end ofthe search for the ultimate laws of nature.

  20. There are no black holes in the sense of regimes from which light can’t escape to infinity.

  21. There are plenty of dead scientists I admire, but I can’t think of any living ones. This is probably because it is only in retrospect that one can see who made the important contributions.

  22. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet.

  23. There could be shadow galaxies, shadow stars, and even shadow people.

  24. There is a real danger that computers will develop intelligence and take over. We urgently need to develop direct connections to the brain so that computers can add to human intelligence rather than be in opposition.

  25. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.

  26. There is no physical law precluding particles from being organised in ways that perform even more advanced computations than the arrangements of particles in human brains.

  27. There is no unique picture of reality.

  28. There is nothing bigger or older than the universe.

  29. There’s no way to remove the observer – us – from our perceptions of the world.

  30. Throughout history, people have studied pure science from a desire to understand the universe rather than practical applications for commercial gain. But their discoveries later turned out to have great practical benefits.

  31. Time can behave like another direction in space under extreme conditions.

  32. Time travel used to be thought of as just science fiction, but Einstein’s general theory of relativity allows for the possibility that we could warp space-time so much that you could go off in a rocket and return before you set out.

  33. Time travel was once considered scientific heresy, and I used to avoid talking about it for fear of being labelled a ‘crank.’

  34. To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.

  35. To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational. The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.

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