15 Best Stephen Hawking Quotes and Predictions about the Future

Stephen Hawking was so much more than a physicist with a few best-sellers. He was someone who inspired us to be the better version of our selves. He encouraged us to look at the stars and dream big.

Some of his words were as profound as the black holes he taught us about. So we couldn’t help but look back on his life at some of the most inspiring quotes he’s ever said.

1. On dealing with difficulties

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

Stephen Hawking | Sion Touhig/Getty Images

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

Stephen Hawking was the poster child for overcoming adversity. When he was diagnosed with ALS at age 21, he was told he wouldn’t live to see 30. But he lived for another half-century to the ripe old age of 76. ALS is one of the most difficult diseases to face on the planet, and he was still able to change the world.

Next: This is great advice for someone who is being a curmudgeon. 

2. On being angry

British scientist Stephen Hawking attends the launch of The Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI) at the University of Cambridge.

Stephen Hawking | Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images

“People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”

It is true: People do not like a complainer or someone who is angry at everything. There are so many inspiring things in this world that being angry seems almost moot. Take it from a guy who had every right to be angry all the time but instead found a way to inspire billions of people.

Next: He was able to show science can be romantic and passionate.

3. On science

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking | Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images

“Science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion.”

So many people view science as something mundane or boring, but it can be so much more than that. You just have to find that passion and romanticism in it. That is what Hawking did for a lot of people.

Next: There’s no point in not being optimistic about your circumstances.

4. On optimism

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking | Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize Foundation

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the universe. That makes us something very special.”

Sometimes we can be reminded of how insignificant we are on the scale of the universe. But even with that insignificance, we are pretty incredible creatures who can at least understand its profundity. Not much can be said of any other known life form.

Next: Is there intelligent life in the universe?

5. On alien intelligence

Stephen Hawking attends the Pride Of Britain awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel

Stephen Hawking | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

“I believe alien life is quite common in the universe, although intelligent life is less so. Some say it has yet to appear on planet Earth.”

When it comes to the likelihood of alien life existing beyond our solar system, it is almost definitely there. The real question is whether there is any intelligent life roaming the vastness of space. He even shows some comical humility when he reminds us we may not even be considered intelligent life.

Next: Even worse, what will happen if aliens came here?

6. What if aliens came to our planet?

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

Stephen Hawking | Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

“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.”

He has a profound point. Think about Columbus and his hubris when he came across the Atlantic and found what he perceived to be savages. That is very similar to how any alien species may view us after they crossed the galaxy.

Next: Even in dire situations, you have to find a way to be great.

7. Advice to other disabled people

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking | Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

“My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.”

It’s probably very easy to give in to your disability. Some people hide behind it. Hawking wanted to inspire other disabled people to keep pushing. If there is something in your way, just find another way around it.

Next: One of the biggest threats humans are facing is fueled by one thing.

8. On climate change

Stephen Hawking on stage

Stephen Hawking | Jemal Countess/Getty Images

“We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.”

We have pillaged this planet to its brink. It’s safe to say Hawking agrees we are at an impasse in humanity where we have to decide whether we value our lives or our bank accounts. Eventually, we will have to band together to survive.

Next: Men and women may never understand each other, and Stephen knew that.

9. His advice for understanding the opposite sex

Stephen Hawking with his family

Stephen Hawking | Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

“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.”

In essence, you will never understand the opposite sex. You can try all you want, create endless research, and only end up with one thing in the end: not knowing. It’s an age-old trope, but even the most intelligent people in the world can’t figure it out.

Next: Recognizing and embracing our diversity gives us strength.

10. On diversity

Stephen Hawking lecture

Stephen Hawking | Desiree Martin/AFP/Getty Images

“We are all different. There is no such thing as a standard or run-of-the-mill human being, but we share the same human spirit.”

It is true. We are all very different beings. We all have different beliefs, languages, personalities, and looks. But the one thing we will always share is our humanity. We are one species with a common goal, and we can never forget that.

Next: What does it take to be an intelligent person? Stephen almost sounds … presidential.

11. On intelligence

British Scientist Stephen Hawking Visits China

Stephen Hawking | China Photos/Getty Images

“People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.”

Intelligent people do not need to tell you they are intelligent. They let their work speak for themselves. If someone is willing to brag about how smart they are, they are probably not that smart. Plus, no one really likes a showoff.

Next: Is there a creator?

12. On the concept of a creator

Professor Stephen Hawking delivers his speech at the release of the 'Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists'

Stephen Hawking | Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

“God may exist, but science can explain the universe without the need for a creator.”

A lot of scientists believe in some form of religion. The idea of a creator is at the heart of many of those religions. Stephen just found a way that could explain the creation of everything and could more or less prove it.

Next: What happens when you die?

13. On death

Professor Stephen Hawking speaks during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics

Stephen Hawking | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

Many people have weighed in on what happens to you after you die. The only problem is no one is really able to prove it. Hawking’s version may be more right than anyone, and that scares a lot of people.

Next: Admittedly, some of his concepts are really far-fetched.

14. Stephen being a little too far out there

Professor Stephen Hawking onstage during the New Space Exploration Initiative 'Breakthrough Starshot' Announcement at One World Observatory

Stephen Hawking | Jemal Countess/Getty Images

“There could be shadow galaxies, shadow stars, and even shadow people.”

Most of the things Stephen Hawking talks about are really far out there and hard to understand. So this concept may be a little too far out there for us to gather. Then again, so was his understanding of black holes.

Next: Way to go super deep on us, Stephen.

15. Stephen gets super meta

press conference to announce Breakthrough Starshot, a new space exploration initiative, at One World Observatory

Stephen Hawking | Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize Foundation

“Nothing cannot exist forever.”

Try to wrap your head around the concept of nothing. What was it like before the Big Bang? How did the singularity come into existence? Will there be another one? After all, “Nothing cannot exist forever.”

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