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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Stephen W. Hawking Quotes > Science

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Stephen W. Hawking
(8 Jan 1942 - 14 Mar 2018)

English theoretical physicist and cosmologist.


Stephen W. Hawking Quotes on Science (12 quotes)

>> Click for 54 Science Quotes by Stephen W. Hawking

>> Click for Stephen W. Hawking Quotes on | God | Universe |

Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?
— Stephen W. Hawking
A Brief History of Time (1998), 190.
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Hubble's observations suggested that there was a time, called the big bang, when the universe was infinitesimally small and infinitely dense. Under such conditions all the laws of science, and therefore all ability to predict the future, would break down. If there were events earlier than this time, then they could not affect what happens at the present time. Their existence can be ignored because it would have no observational consequences. One may say that time had a beginning at the big bang, in the sense that earlier times simply would not be defined. It should be emphasized that this beginning in time is very different from those that had been considered previously. In an unchanging universe a beginning in time is something that has to be imposed by some being outside the universe; there is no physical necessity for a beginning. One can imagine that God created the universe at literally any time in the past. On the other hand, if the universe is expanding, there may be physical reasons why there had to be a beginning. One could still imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang, or even afterwards in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang, but it would be meaningless to suppose that it was created before the big bang. An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!
— Stephen W. Hawking
A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (1988), 8-9.
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It is said that fact is sometimes stranger than fiction, and nowhere is this more true than in the case of black holes. Black holes are stranger than anything dreamt up by science fiction writers.
— Stephen W. Hawking
In Lecture, 'Into a Black Hole' (2008). On hawking.org website.
Science quotes on:  |  Black Hole (17)  |  Dream (209)  |  Fact (1212)  |  More (2559)  |  Science (3880)  |  Science Fiction (31)  |  Strange (157)  |  Writer (86)

Science is beautiful when it makes simple explanations of phenomena or connections between different observations. Examples include the double helix in biology, and the fundamental equations of physics.
[Answer to question: What are the things you find most beautiful in science?]
— Stephen W. Hawking
'Stephen Hawking: "There is no heaven; it's a fairy story"', interview in newspaper The Guardian (15 May 2011).
Science quotes on:  |  Answer (366)  |  Beautiful (259)  |  Beauty (300)  |  Biology (216)  |  Connection (162)  |  Difference (337)  |  Different (577)  |  DNA (77)  |  Double Helix (2)  |  Equation (132)  |  Example (94)  |  Explanation (234)  |  Find (999)  |  Fundamental (251)  |  Helix (10)  |  Include (90)  |  Make (25)  |  Most (1729)  |  Observation (560)  |  Phenomenon (319)  |  Physic (516)  |  Physics (533)  |  Question (622)  |  Science (3880)  |  Simple (406)  |  Thing (1915)

Science predicts that many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing. It is a matter of chance which we are in.
[Answer to question: You've said there is no reason to invoke God to light the blue touchpaper. Is our existence all down to luck?]
— Stephen W. Hawking
'Stephen Hawking: "There is no heaven; it's a fairy story"', interview in newspaper The Guardian (15 May 2011).
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Answer (366)  |  Chance (239)  |  Creation (329)  |  Difference (337)  |  Different (577)  |  Down (455)  |  Existence (460)  |  God (758)  |  Kind (557)  |  Light (609)  |  Luck (42)  |  Matter (801)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Predict (80)  |  Prediction (82)  |  Question (622)  |  Reason (744)  |  Science (3880)  |  Science And Religion (310)  |  Spontaneity (5)  |  Universe (861)  |  Which (2)  |  Will (2354)

The eventual goal of science is to provide a single theory that describes the whole universe.
— Stephen W. Hawking
…...
Science quotes on:  |  Describe (128)  |  Eventual (9)  |  Goal (146)  |  Provide (69)  |  Science (3880)  |  Single (354)  |  Theory (972)  |  Universe (861)  |  Whole (738)

The media need superheroes in science just as in every sphere of life.
— Stephen W. Hawking
Interview with Deborah Solomon, 'The Science of Second-Guessing', in New York Times Magazine (12 Dec 2004), 37.
Science quotes on:  |  Life (1799)  |  Media (13)  |  Science (3880)  |  Sphere (116)  |  Superhero (3)

The quantum theory of gravity has opened up a new possibility, in which there would be no boundary to space-time and so there would be no need to specify the behaviour at the boundary. There would be no singularities at which the laws of science broke down and no edge of space-time at which one would have to appeal to God or some new law to set the boundary conditions for space-time. One could say: 'The boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary.' The universe would be completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside itself. It would neither be created nor destroyed. It would just BE.
— Stephen W. Hawking
A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (1988), 136.
Science quotes on:  |  Behaviour (41)  |  Boundary (51)  |  Completely (135)  |  Condition (357)  |  Destroy (180)  |  Down (455)  |  Edge (47)  |  God (758)  |  Gravity (133)  |  Law (895)  |  New (1217)  |  Open (274)  |  Outside (141)  |  Possibility (164)  |  Quantum (117)  |  Quantum Theory (66)  |  Say (984)  |  Science (3880)  |  Self (267)  |  Set (394)  |  Singularity (4)  |  Space (501)  |  Space-Time (18)  |  Theory (972)  |  Time (1877)  |  Universe (861)

The universe is governed by science. But science tells us that we can’t solve the equations, directly in the abstract. We need to use the effective theory of Darwinian natural selection of those societies most likely to survive. We assign them higher value.
[Answer to question: What is the value in knowing “Why are we here?”]
— Stephen W. Hawking
'Stephen Hawking: "There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story"', interview in newspaper The Guardian (15 May 2011).
Science quotes on:  |  Abstract (126)  |  Answer (366)  |  Assignment (12)  |  Charles Darwin (304)  |  Directly (22)  |  Effective (59)  |  Equation (132)  |  Govern (65)  |  Governing (20)  |  Higher (37)  |  Knowing (137)  |  Likely (34)  |  Most (1729)  |  Natural (796)  |  Natural Selection (96)  |  Need (290)  |  Question (622)  |  Science (3880)  |  Selection (128)  |  Society (325)  |  Solution (269)  |  Solve (130)  |  Survival (96)  |  Survive (79)  |  Tell (340)  |  Theory (972)  |  Universe (861)  |  Use (766)  |  Value (368)  |  Why (491)

The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired.
— Stephen W. Hawking
A Brief History of Time (1998), 127.
Science quotes on:  |  Arbitrary (26)  |  Certain (550)  |  Do (1908)  |  Event (216)  |  God (758)  |  Happen (275)  |  History (675)  |  History Of Science (64)  |  Order (632)  |  Realization (43)  |  Science (3880)  |  Underlying (30)  |  Whole (738)

The world has changed far more in the past 100 years than in any other century in history. The reason is not political or economic but technological—technologies that flowed directly from advances in basic science. Clearly, no scientist better represents those advances than Albert Einstein: TIME’s Person of the Century.
— Stephen W. Hawking
'A Brief History of Relativity'. Time (31 Dec 1999).
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What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary. (17 Oct 1988)
— Stephen W. Hawking
Der Spiegel (17 Oct 1988). Quoted in Clifford A. Pickover, Archimedes to Hawking (2008), 483.
Science quotes on:  |  God (758)  |  Law (895)  |  Necessary (363)  |  Necessity (191)  |  Possible (554)  |  Prove (252)  |  Science (3880)  |  Show (346)  |  Universe (861)  |  Way (1216)


See also:
  • 8 Jan - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Hawking's birth.
  • Booklist for Stephen Hawking.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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