As a member of that huge club who only got a third of the way through "A Brief History of Time", the death of Stephen Hawking this week marked the end of an era. Not so much in sadness, because this is a guy who managed to outlive the terrible prognosis of Motor Neurone Disease by a country mile. He made the most of the life he had by not only getting a new understanding of the Universe, but bringing those esoteric concepts of theoretic physics into the mainstream (even if they hurt our heads).

So I thought I'd mark Prof Hawking's passing with an extract from a Guardian article of his which really resonated with me:

We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.

Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.

[...]

We can do this, I am an enormous optimist for my species; but it will require the elites, from London to Harvard, from Cambridge to Hollywood, to learn the lessons of the past year. To learn above all a measure of humility.

 

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