'The mind of God': top quotes from Stephen Hawking

The world-famous British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who died on Wednesday at the age of 76, was known as much for his profound and witty comments as his scientific discoveries.

Here are some of Hawking's best known quotes:

On why the universe exists

"If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason—for then we would know the mind of God"

From A Brief History of Time (1988): Hawking later said he had used the word "God" figuratively and was in fact an atheist.

In The Grand Design (2010), he wrote: "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going"

On his illness

"My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus"

Interview with The New York Times (2004)

On his life purpose

"My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all"

From Stephen Hawking's Universe by John Boslough (1985)

On his celebrity status

"The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognised. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away"

Interview with Israeli TV (2006)

On human imperfection

"Without imperfection, you or I would not exist"

From "The Universe With Stephen Hawking", Discovery Channel (2010)

On contact with aliens

"I think it would be a disaster. The extraterrestrials would probably be far in advance of us. The history of advanced races meeting more primitive people on this planet is not very happy, and they were the same species. I think we should keep our heads low"

From "Naked Science: Alien Contact", National Geographic Channel (2004)

On artificial intelligence

"The primitive forms of artificial intelligence we already have, have proved very useful. But I think the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race"

Interview with the BBC (2014)

On death

"I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first"

Interview with The Guardian (2011)

On women

Once when asked what he thinks about most during the day, he answered: "Women. They are a complete mystery"

On football

"England couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo."

In May 2014, on the England football team's penalty-kicking record

Explore further

Stephen Hawking: a brief history of genius

© 2018 AFP

Citation: 'The mind of God': top quotes from Stephen Hawking (2018, March 14) retrieved 23 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-mind-god-quotes-stephen-hawking.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Mar 14, 2018
Let us not forget this goodie

"Most of us don't worry about these questions most of the time. But almost all of us must sometimes wonder: Why are we here? Where do we come from? Traditionally, these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead," he said. "Philosophers have not kept up with modern developments in science. Particularly physics... Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge."

-Always good at cutting through the shit.

Mar 17, 2018
The greatest problem of science is that no one thinks about himself and about the one that human beings formed us. Science has, from its activity, erased the existence of the Spiritual Entity of the universe, and if it is discussed, science and its participants call it religion. But it is not clear to them that science with this attitude is the lowest level of religiosity, because it does not respect what formed and all matter, and what formed the matter and everything that formed from matter.
That is why science has become a "black hole of the understanding of the universe".

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more