15 Stephen Hawking Quotes That Will Change Your Life

Vanessa Golembewski
<span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>
Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.

Update: March 14, 2018 at 9:15 a.m.

Wednesday morning, news broke that Stephen Hawking passed away at his home in Cambridge. He was 76. A brilliant mind and force, Hawking was famously pithy. As we celebrate his achievements, let us reflect on his most affecting quotes.

Original story follows.

Stephen Hawking's life has been one of triumph. It's been so triumphant, in fact, that it's the subject of a new film, The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. (This author can tell you it's not only one of the greatest movies she's seen in a long time, but one so beautifully scored it will change the texture of your skin.)

As you prepare to experience the film, it's important to reflect on what makes Hawking himself so remarkable. Yes, it's that he's brilliant. Yes, it's that he's exceeded the wildest expectations about his motor neuron disease and quality of life. But, it's also because of the attitude he maintains and perspective he provides. Ahead, in honor of his birthday, 15 of his most inspirational quotes.

<p>Listening to a <a href="http://www.hark.com/clips/fljbrkqwkr-intelligence-is-the-ability-to-adapt-to-change" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:sound clip" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">sound clip</a> of this quote is even more powerful than reading it.</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

Listening to a sound clip of this quote is even more powerful than reading it.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>In a 2005 interview with <em><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/science/2005/sep/27/scienceandnature.highereducationprofile" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Guardian" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Guardian</a></em>, Hawking responded to a question about whether he gets "surges of rage" about his disability. "It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability," he told the paper. "One has to get on with life and I haven't done badly."</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

In a 2005 interview with The Guardian, Hawking responded to a question about whether he gets "surges of rage" about his disability. "It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability," he told the paper. "One has to get on with life and I haven't done badly."

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>When Diane Sawyer <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Technology/stephen-hawking-religion-science-win/story?id=10830164&page=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:spoke" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">spoke</a> with Hawking in 2010, he shared this perspective on love. He said it's one of the most important things he's taught his children.</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

When Diane Sawyer spoke with Hawking in 2010, he shared this perspective on love. He said it's one of the most important things he's taught his children.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>He also told Sawyer he's instilled a solid work ethic in his children.</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

He also told Sawyer he's instilled a solid work ethic in his children.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>When a reporter for <em>The New York Times</em> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/12/magazine/12QUESTIONS.html?_r=1&" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:interviewed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">interviewed</a> Hawking in 2004, she remarked at how cheerful he seemed. He responded with this bit of wisdom.</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

When a reporter for The New York Times interviewed Hawking in 2004, she remarked at how cheerful he seemed. He responded with this bit of wisdom.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>In that <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/12/magazine/12QUESTIONS.html?_r=0" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:same interview" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">same interview</a>, this is how Hawking responded when the reporter asked him his I.Q. "I have no idea," he said.</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

In that same interview, this is how Hawking responded when the reporter asked him his I.Q. "I have no idea," he said.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>Hawking shared this advice in a <a href="http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Hawkings-speech-Remember-look-stars-feet/story-22358780-detail/story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:speech" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">speech</a> to Cambridge University graduates in 2012. "It matters that you don't just give up," he added.</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

Hawking shared this advice in a speech to Cambridge University graduates in 2012. "It matters that you don't just give up," he added.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>He added this to his speech to the Cambridge grads.</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

He added this to his speech to the Cambridge grads.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>In a 2011 interview with <em><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/may/15/stephen-hawking-interview-there-is-no-heaven" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Guardian" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Guardian</a></em>, Hawking addressed how he feels about his own mortality. "I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years," he said. "I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first."</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

In a 2011 interview with The Guardian, Hawking addressed how he feels about his own mortality. "I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years," he said. "I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first."

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>Hawking shared this sentiment when he opened the <a href="http://www.ctc.cam.ac.uk/news/120829_newsitem.php" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Paralympic Games" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Paralympic Games</a> in 2012. "We are all different," he said. "What is important is that we have the ability to create."</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

Hawking shared this sentiment when he opened the Paralympic Games in 2012. "We are all different," he said. "What is important is that we have the ability to create."

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>In this quote from his <a href="http://www.livescience.com/8869-8-shocking-learned-stephen-hawking-book.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:book" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">book</a> <em>The Grand Design</em>, Hawking is likely speaking to the ideas of space and time. But, it also works when you apply it to your personal life.</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

In this quote from his book The Grand Design, Hawking is likely speaking to the ideas of space and time. But, it also works when you apply it to your personal life.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>Something to <a href="http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/other-shows/videos/other-shows-stephen-hawking-videos.htm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:think about" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">think about</a> on those days when you're feeling lackluster.</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

Something to think about on those days when you're feeling lackluster.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>Hawking advised this in a 2005 interview with <em><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/science/2005/sep/27/scienceandnature.highereducationprofile" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Guardian" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Guardian</a></em>. "What I do is keep thinking about the problem, but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years."</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

Hawking advised this in a 2005 interview with The Guardian. "What I do is keep thinking about the problem, but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years."

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>"If they could then there'd be nothing to stop the whole universe from descending into chaos," he wrote in the <em><a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1269288/STEPHEN-HAWKING-How-build-time-machine.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Daily Mail." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Daily Mail.</a></em></p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

"If they could then there'd be nothing to stop the whole universe from descending into chaos," he wrote in the Daily Mail.

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
<p>“My daughter, Lucy, knew one of the scriptwriters for <em>The Simpsons</em>. He said he would like to write an episode involving me," Hawking <a href="http://www.wired.com/2012/01/stephen-hawking-best-quotes/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explained" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explained</a> of his guest starring on the animated show. "I accepted immediately because it would be fun, and because <em>The Simpsons</em> is the best thing on American television.”</p> <span class="copyright">Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.</span>

“My daughter, Lucy, knew one of the scriptwriters for The Simpsons. He said he would like to write an episode involving me," Hawking explained of his guest starring on the animated show. "I accepted immediately because it would be fun, and because The Simpsons is the best thing on American television.”

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.

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