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5 of my favorite Stephen Hawking quotes

March 15, 2018

When Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS) at age 21, doctors thought he'd only survive a few more years. But the theoretical physicist defied the odds: Hawking, who passed away yesterday, lived to be 76. Here are 5 of my favorite quotes from the director of research and founder of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge and author of A Brief History of Time.

 

 

 1. ON IMPERFECTION

 

"Next time someone complains that you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist."

— From Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, 2010

 

 

2. ON FATE VERSUS FREE WILL

 

"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."

— From Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays

 

 

3. ON ALIEN LIFE

 

"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."

— From Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, 2010

 

 

4. ON DEATH

 

"I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first." 

— Interview, the Guardian, May 2011

 

 

5. ON LIFE

 

"However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope." 

— From speech in Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2006.

 

 

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