Science 4 min read

Stephen Hawking's "Brief Answers to the Big Questions"

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Famous physicist Stephen Hawking delivered his ultimate reflections on ten questions in a posthumous book, titled “Brief Answers to the Big Questions”.

Stephen Hawking, the eminent theoretical physicist, died earlier this year on Einstein’s birthday (March 14) at 76, not without leaving a farewell message to humanity.

“I have led an extraordinary life on this planet, while at the same time traveling across the universe by using my mind and the laws of physics. I have been to the furthest reaches of our galaxy, traveled into a black hole and gone back to the beginning of time. 

On Earth, I have experienced highs and lows, turbulence and peace, success and suffering. I have been rich and poor, I have been able-bodied and disabled. 

I have been praised and criticized, but never ignored. I have been enormously privileged, through my work, in being able to contribute to our understanding of the universe. 

I want to share my excitement about these big questions and my enthusiasm about this quest,” says Hawking in an excerpt of his final book.

Stephen Hawking’s posthumous book, “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” has just come out.

The Big Questions With Brief Answers

Recognized for his work on black holes, Hawking published his first book “A Brief History of Time” that sold over 10 million copies and was translated into dozens of languages. Along with his contributions to science, this book helped make him a truly household name.

In the vein of the first book, “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” is a popular-science book that Hawking was still working on when he died.

His children and some of his colleagues at Cambridge University completed the book using material found in Hawking’s personal archives.

In “Brief Answers to the Big Questions”, the late cosmologist tackles issues as thorny as the existence of God, the origin of life, the fate of humanity on Earth, and other big questions, with each answer making up a chapter.

Here are the ten questions:

— Is there a God?

— How did it all begin?

— What is inside a black hole?

— Can we predict the future?

— Is time travel possible?

— Will we survive on Earth?

— Is there other intelligent life in the universe?

— Should we colonize space?

— Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?

— How do we shape the future?

Read More: Soft Hair on Black Holes: Stephen Hawking’s Last Scientific Paper

The Science Museum in London hosted a press conference to mark the launch of Stephen Hawking’s last book. The panel included Hawking’s children, his academic colleagues, and others who knew him.

“He was regularly asked a set of questions,” said Lucy Hawking about the book, which is an attempt to “bring together the most definitive, clearest, most authentic answers that he gave.”

Stephen Hawking was present at the book launch ceremony via an animation recorded before he died.

In his iconic voice, Hawking starts off by saying that “People have always wanted answers to the big questions.”

He addressed recent research funding cuts, and touches on hot-button political issues “with Brexit and Trump now exerting new forces in relation to immigration and the development of education.”

About the younger generation, Hawking says “with confidence that their future will depend more on science and technology than any previous generation’s has done.”

As for the most challenging problems the world will be facing “I count global warming, finding space and resources for the massive increase in the Earth’s human population, rapid extinction of other species, the need to develop renewable energy sources, the degradation of the oceans, deforestation and epidemic diseases – just to name a few.”

The book is not a culmination of all of the great scientist’s works, and it doesn’t provide any particularly new discoveries. However, it does show us the importance of our future, the “Big Questions” and the growing necessity of looking after our planet.

What other questions do you wish Stephen Hawking answered in his last book?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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