Before He Died, Stephen Hawking Predicted the End of the Universe and Revealed the 1 Way Humans Could Avoid Extinction

The famous theoretical physicist was working on various projects, among them a final work that he believed revealed how the world would end. Stephen Hawking predicted the end of the universe (page 5) but gave the world some hope — he revealed the one way he believed we could save the human race from extinction (page 6).

He believed in intelligent life beyond our universe

Spiral galaxy, illustration of Milky Way.

This is one of Hawking’s strongly held beliefs. | alex-mit/Getty Images

“Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps, intelligent life may be watching these lights of ours aware of what they mean,” Hawking said. “Or do our lights wander a lifeless cosmos, unseen beacons announcing that here on our rock, the universe discovered its existence?”

Hawking launched Breakthrough Initiatives in 2015 with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner. The project was composed of two parts: Breakthrough Listen and Breakthrough Message. ‘Listen’ searches for evidence of “intelligent life beyond Earth” by using the most advanced technology to search the galaxy. ‘Message’ is a $1 million competition designing a message that represents Earth in a way “another civilization” could understand.

Next: One of Hawking’s former predictions about Earth’s demise.

He once said that the Earth would turn into a giant ball of fire

British theoretical physicist professor Stephen Hawking speaks to members of the media

This is how he predicted the Earth would be destroyed. | Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Hawking was well-known for his work on the theory of relativity and black holes. He referred to the state of our planet as “increasingly precarious” as a result of climate change and theorized our demise. Hawkings claimed that if we continued to treat the Earth as we have, it would “turn into a giant ball of fire by 2600.”

He spoke via video Beijing’s Tencent WE Summit in November 2017. Hawking said humans need to “boldly go where no one has gone before” in order to survive another million years, noting otherwise we may meet our doom in 600 years.

 

Next: The one thing Hawking believed could seriously ruin humanity.

He believed artificial intelligence could destroy society

A visitor at Intel's Artificial Intelligence

Should we be more wary than we are? | MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP/Getty Images

While Hawking himself, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), used a revolutionary Intel system to speak, it was the artificial intelligence which could match humans that scared him. “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” he told the BBC.

He recognized that successful AI could mark the biggest event to take place in civilization so far, but remained skeptical of developing it too far. “Unless we learn how to prepare for, and avoid the potential risks, AI could be the worst event in the history of our civilization. It brings dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many. It could bring great disruption to our economy.”

Next: Hawking was disappointed with our action on climate change and feared its effects.

He talked about the dangers of global warming

A giant spikey blue wall of glacial ice calves into the sea

Climate change was a large concern of Hawking’s. | Mario Tama/Getty Images

“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible. [President Donald] Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid,” Hawking told the BBC in July 2017.

Hawking believed if humans continued living the way we do, we’ll need to live on and colonize another planet. He believed similar theories as SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who felt Mars has the potential to be a good alternative to life on Earth.

Next: Hawking made a final prediction about how Earth will cease to exist.

His prediction? That our universe may just fade

Stephen Hawking on stage

Could this be what eventually happens? | Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Hawking’s final work was titled “A Smooth Exit From Eternal Inflation” and explained his last prediction about how our world will end: It’ll eventually fade to darkness as our stars run out of energy. The paper is currently being reviewed by a scientific journal, though Hawkins couldn’t see it to publication.

 He co-authored the paper with Belgian physicist Thomas Hertog. It described various “multiverses” (described next) which could save the human race. “Eternal inflation creates an infinite number of patch universes, little bubble universes, all over the place with this inflating space between them,” explained physics professor Will Kinney.
Next: Hawking had an idea for how we could save ourselves.

The solution? He proposed the idea of a ‘multiverse’

stephen hawking on a panel

This is his solution. | Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize Foundation

The “multiverse” theory that Hawking and Hertog describe imagines the existence of multiple universes outside of ours. The physicists proposed ways scientists could find alternate universes: using the probes on spaceships. This would help humans discover “our place in the cosmos” and hopefully provide alternate universes we could inhabit if we ever lost ours.

The paper questions whether the cosmic inflation that immediately followed the Big Bang could have created an “infinite fractal-like multiverse.” According to Astronomy, their calculations seem to say no.

Next: His books showcased his passion for physics.

‘Black holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays’

Black hole in space

The study of black holes were one of his passions. | TitoOnz/iStock/Getty Images

Hawking’s 1993 book gives insight into his passion: Discovering how our universe began and how it may end. He and other physicists believe that millions of black holes lie at the center of most galaxies, including our own — the Milky Way.

Black holes form when stars collapse, creating an infinitely dense point called a “singularity.” Hawking built on Albert Einstein’s theories of black holes to create one of his own: “Black holes ain’t so black.” Sean Carroll, a Caltech physics professor, called it a “stunning finding that surprised everybody,” claiming we’re “still trying to understand it’s implications.”

Next: The final thing Hawking left us with.

One thing’s for sure: Hawking made his mark on this universe

Physicist Stephen Hawking smiles at a symposium to honor his birthday at the Center for Mathematical Sciences

Hawking will be remembered for many years. | Sion Touhig/Getty Images

“He has often been nominated for the Nobel and should have won it. Now he never can,” Hertog told The Sunday Times. Martin Rees, Hawking’s longtime friend, and colleague called his life a triumph.

“His name will live in the annals of science; millions have had their cosmic horizons widened by his best-selling books; and even more, around the world, have been inspired by a unique example of achievement against all odds — a manifestation of amazing willpower and determination.” Regardless of how many universes exist beyond the Milky Way, it’s evident Hawking made a lasting impression on ours.

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