“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” Stephen Hawking
Who si Stephen Hawking?
Stephen William Hawking, is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. His scientific works include a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. He is a vigorous supporter of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.
Hawking is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the US. In 2002, Hawking was ranked number 25 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009 and has achieved commercial success with works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general; his book A Brief History of Time appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks.
Hawking has a rare early-onset, slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that has gradually paralysed him over the decades. He now communicates using a single cheek muscle attached to a speech-generating device.
Future of humanity
In 2006 Hawking posed an open question on the Internet: “In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?”, later clarifying: “I don’t know the answer. That is why I asked the question, to get people to think about it, and to be aware of the dangers we now face.”
He has expressed concern that life on Earth is at risk from a sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, global warming, or other dangers we have not yet thought of. However, such a planet-wide disaster need not result in human extinction if the human race were to be able to colonize additional planets before the disaster. Hawking views spaceflight and the colonization of space as necessary for the future of humanity.
Hawking has stated that, given the vastness of the universe, aliens likely exist, but that contact with them should be avoided. He warned that aliens might pillage Earth for resources. In 2010 he said, “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.” Hawking has warned superintelligent artificial intelligence could be pivotal in steering humanity’s fate, stating that “the potential benefits are huge… Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history. It might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks.” Hawking has argued that computer viruses should be considered a new form of life, and has stated that “maybe it says something about human nature, that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. Talk about creating life in our own image.”
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “Stephen Hawking.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 Aug. 2017. Web. 13 Aug. 2017.