LONDON – Physicist and author Stephen Hawking possessed an uncanny ability to come up with memorable phrases and sayings that summed up his world view. Here is a short selection of his many famous observations:
— "We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the universe. That makes us something very special."
— "Life would be tragic if it weren't funny."
— "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."
— "For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn't have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking."
— "My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all."
— "I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful."
— "Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free."
— "If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans."
— "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."
— "My disabilities have not been a significant handicap in my field, which is theoretical physics. Indeed, they have helped me in a way by shielding me from lecturing and administrative work that I would otherwise have been involved in. I have managed, however, only because of the large amount of help I have received from my wife, children, colleagues and students. I find that people in general are very ready to help, but you should encourage them to feel that their efforts to aid you are worthwhile by doing as well as you possibly can."