While Stephen Hawking’s death on the 14 March 2018 saddened the whole world, his life has been an inspiration in so many ways. The following Stephen Hawking quotes sum up his attitudes to science, life, the universe, relationships and living with a disability.
Before we present our list of quotes, let’s talk about Stephen Hawking’s life first. At the age of 21, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. Doctors predicted that he would only live a few more years.
However, Hawking defied the odds and lived a full and inspiring life despite needing a wheelchair to get around and a computer to communicate his ideas. He married twice, had three children and changed the world with his scientific insights.
Stephen Hawking is a world-renowned British theoretical physicist, most famous for his groundbreaking scientific work. He revolutionized scientific thinking on a range of subjects from cosmology, general relativity, quantum gravity, and black holes.
The following quotes by Stephen Hawking cover much more than scientific ideas, though.
1. Hawking on his IQ
Of course, no one denies that Hawking was a genius of the most outstanding calibre. His ideas were so profound that they changed scientific thought forever. But he certainly didn’t bang on about his IQ all the time.
Presumably, he was too busy coming up with scientific breakthroughs to worry much about what his IQ was. In fact, when asked his IQ, he stated:
“I have no idea. People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.”
2. Hawking on fate
Hawking was a scientist and as such, he worked out ideas from observation. He was never interested in looking for solutions in religion or superstition. In fact, Hawking once pointed out that:
“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.”
This quote is a great example of his wonderful sense of humour, too.
3. Hawking inspiring others
One of the wonderful things about Stephen Hawking is the way he encouraged and inspired others. He never used his intellectual abilities to put people down or make them feel stupid.
The following quote is an example of him lifting others up while simultaneously making an astute observation about evolution. Clever!
“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.”
4. Hawking on disability
Despite having a seriously limiting disability, Hawking achieved more than most people ever do. He often spoke about living with a disability and encouraged others who experienced life-limiting conditions.
The fact that he never felt sorry for himself is perhaps one of the most inspiring aspects of his personality.
“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.”
5. Hawking’s humour
Stephen Hawking was brilliant, kind, inspiring and also very funny. His work was certainly meaningful and serious and living with such a serious disease can’t have been much fun. But Stephen Hawking was always ready for a joke, and many of his quotes are full of humour.
“The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognized. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away.”
6. Hawking on humankind
If only more politicians listened to brilliant scientists, the world may be a safer and happier place. Imagine if all the leaders of the world listened to the following quote and acted upon it!
“Aggression, humanity’s greatest vice, will destroy civilization.”
7. Hawking on the environment
In fact, it is not just politicians who should ponder his wise words. We each of us have a responsibility to our planet and its future. Contemplate the following quote and see if you can make some changes today.
We might not be able to start a colony on Mars, but we could be a little more mindful about how we use the planet’s precious resources.
“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.”
8. Hawking’s advice to his own children
Perhaps the best advice we can take from Stephen Hawking is the advice that he gave to his own children. He often said that his three children had brought him great joy in life.
His advice to them can help us to appreciate the wonders of being alive in the incredible world, too.
“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.”
It may be many years before we see a mind like Stephen Hawking’s again. As well as being a great genius, he had the ability to communicate his ideas with others and inspire us all to make the most of our potential.
Whenever we feel down, or doubtful of our own abilities, reading some quotes by Stephen Hawking can uplift, inspire and encourage us to get on with whatever we have chosen to do with our precious lives.
Image credit: NASA StarChild image of Stephen Hawking
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