"WHAT WAS YOUR DREAM WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD, AND DID IT COME TRUE?
I wanted to be a great scientist. However, I wasn't a very good student when I was at school, and was rarely more than halfway up my class. My work was untidy, and my handwriting not very good. But I had good friends at school. And we talked about everything and, specifically, the origin of the universe. This is where my dream began, and I am very fortunate that it has come true."
~ Stephen Hawking (8th January 1942 to 14th March 2018
I have led an extraordinary life on this planet, while at the same time travelling across the universe by using my mind and the laws of physics. I have been to the furthest reaches of our galaxy, travelled 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 criticised, but never ignored. I have been enormously privileged, through my work, in being able to contribute to our understanding of the universe. But it would be an empty universe indeed if it were not for the people I love, and who love me. Without them, the wonder of it all would be lost on me.
And at the end of all this, the fact that we humans, who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature, have been able to come to an understanding of the laws governing us, and our universe, is a great triumph. I want to share my excitement about these big questions and my enthusiasm about this quest.
One day, I hope we will know the answers to all these questions. But there are other challenges, other big questions on the planet which must be answered, and these will also need a new generation who are are interested and engaged, and have an understanding of science. How will we feed an ever-growing population? Provide clean water, generate renewable energy, prevent and cure disease and slow down global climate change? I hope that science and technology will provide the answers to these questions, but it will take people, human beings with knowledge and understanding, to implement these solutions. Let us fight for every woman and every man to have the opportunity to live healthy, secure lives, full of opportunity and love. We are all time travellers, journeying together into the future. But let us work together to make that future a place we want to visit.
Be brave, be curious, be determined, overcome the odds. It can be done.
Excerpts from STEPHEN HAWKING - BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS by John Murray (Publishers)
PINK FLOYD - KEEP TALKING