Professor Stephen William Hawking birthday was on 8th January 1942 in Oxford, England. He lived in north London but during the Second World War, Oxford was considered a safer place to have babies. When he turned 8 his family moved to St. Albans, a city around 20 miles north of London. He attended the St. Albans School and then continued his education to University College, Oxford (1952); his father’s old college. There he pursued physics. After three years he was awarded a first class honors degree in natural science. Here are some of his best quotes.
1. “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.”
2. “While physics and mathematics may tell us how the universe began, they are not much use in predicting human behavior because there are far too many equations to solve. I’m no better than anyone else at understanding what makes people tick, particularly women.”
3. “It is generally recognized that women are better than men at languages, personal relations, and multi-tasking, but less good at map-reading and spatial awareness. It is therefore not unreasonable to suppose that women might be less good at mathematics and physics.”
4. “If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, it would have recollapsed before it reached its present size. On the other hand, if it had been greater by a part in a million, the universe would have expanded too rapidly for stars and planets to form.”
5. “A few years ago, the city council of Monza, Italy, barred pet owners from keeping goldfish in curved bowls… saying that it is cruel to keep a fish in a bowl with curved sides because gazing out, the fish would have a distorted view of reality. But how do we know we have the true, undistorted picture of reality?”
6. “In my school, the brightest boys did math and physics, the less bright did physics and chemistry, and the least bright did biology. I wanted to do math and physics, but my father made me do chemistry because he thought there would be no jobs for mathematicians.”
7. “We lived in a tall, narrow Victorian house, which my parents had bought very cheaply during the war when everyone thought London was going to be bombed flat. In fact, a V-2 rocket landed a few houses away from ours. I was away with my mother and sister at the time, but my father was in the house.”
8. “For years, my early work with Roger Penrose seemed to be a disaster for science. It showed that the universe must have begun with a singularity if Einstein’s general theory of relativity is correct. That appeared to indicate that science could not predict how the universe would begin.”
9. “Before I lost my voice, it was slurred so only those close to me could understand, but with the computer voice, I found I could give popular lectures. I enjoy communicating science. It is important that the public understands basic science if they are not to leave vital decisions to others.
10. “I don’t have much positive to say about motor neuron disease. But it taught me not to pity myself because others were worse off, and to get on with what I could still do.”
11. “Throughout history, people have studied pure science from a desire to understand the universe rather than practical applications for commercial gain. But their discoveries later turned out to have great practical benefits.”
12. “I believe there are no questions that science can’t answer about a physical universe.”
13. “It’s time to commit to finding the answer, to search for life beyond Earth. Mankind has a deep need to explore, to learn, to know. We also happen to be sociable creatures. It is important for us to know if we are alone in the dark.”