He was trapped in his own body by motor neurone disease, but that did not stop Prof Stephen Hawking help us all get an understanding of the universe.
The world renowned physicist has died at the age of 76, leaving the world memorable words on a host of subjects.
Wheelchair-bound and largely unable to speak, most of them were delivered through his famous voice synthesiser.
From the reasons for the universe’s existence to the downside of fame, here are some of his pearls of wisdom:
- On black holes: “Einstein was wrong when he said, ‘God does not play dice’. Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can’t be seen” – The Nature Of Space And Time, published 1996
- On the reason 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” – A Brief History Of Time, published 1988
- On God: “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going” – The Grand Design, published 2010
- On commercial success: “I want my books sold on airport bookstalls”- Interview in The New York Times, December 2004
- On fame: “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 on Israeli TV, December 2006
‘While there’s life, there is hope’
- On an imperfect world: “Without imperfection, you or I would not exist” – On Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking, The Discovery Channel, 2010
- On euthanasia: “The victim should have the right to end his life, if he wants. But I think it would be a great mistake. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope”- Quoted in People’s Daily Online, June 2006
- On the possibility of contact between humans and 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” -In Naked Science: Alien Contact, The National Geographic Channel, 2004
- On being diagnosed with motor neurone disease: “My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus” – Interview in The New York Times, December 2004
- 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 in The Guardian, May 2011