Talk:Stephen Hawking

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Stephen Hawking page.

Perhaps that is why I have sold more books than Madonna[edit]

I have found in the The Illustrated A Brief History of Time only that Hawking states in his Foreward: 'I have sold more books on physics than Madonna has on sex' but he attributes that to a remark made by his former post-doc Nathan Myhrvold. Preview the book at Amazon.

I found the quote 'All of my life, I have been fascinated by the big questions that face us, and have tried to find scientific answers to them' on the PBS website for their 1997 TV program series Stephen Hawking's Universe. But I didn't find it in the book above. Google the detached quote for that webpage, where an extended version of the quote (without any reference to Madonna) can be read.

However, I have not found a source for the two quotes concatenated, except as frequent 'me-too' quotes on webpages without a valid source.

Also, the two quotes seem like a non-sequitur to me... not really the train of thought I'd expect from Hawking.

So I doubt the validity of the combined quote. I hesitate to remove it from the quote page, until verified by someone else. Then perhaps someone that feels convinced enough can change the quote and sources on the web page. On the other hand, a specific page reference in the book for the combined quote would put the doubt to rest.

I doubt he would falsely attribute his own quotation to someone else in his own foreword. I'd say that's about as direct a reference as you could want to justify removing it. --Randall00 08:19, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Zellerbach Hall[edit]

Someone who knows this stuff, and how to source it well:
in the stream there he says something like:

"Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end", about the prospect of proving that the universe spontaneously popped into existence, which he now claims to believe. 21:05, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

A working version of the link given by this editor (article id 23829) can be found here, but it doesn't include a "stream" of the talk. The article is about a talk he gave March 13 2007 at Zellerbach Hall, and there's a transcript of this talk here, but it doesn't include the word "eternity". Hawking does mention the quote about eternity in this transcript of a 2006 interview, but he attributes it to Woody Allen (though this might be an incorrect attribution as it appears in the "unsourced" section of Allen's Talk page). Hypnosifl 10:24, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

I found myself emotionally touched by the words that Professor Hawking spoke in the 1993 BT commercial.
Even though 'impressive' and 'tremendous' are hardly adequate as adjectives when one must qualify his scientific work,
in my personal opinion, the simple words of that commercial might very well be his most important advice to mankind,
I often refer to that text as "Hawking's Advice"
10 January 2008: Jos van Kesteren (NL)

Guess you must be talking about this ad. The quote from the ad currently appears in the "Quotes" section credited to "British Telecom advertisement (1993)". Hypnosifl 11:07, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.[edit]

I think I saw something similar in the chapter about the future of the human race at "The Universe in a Nutshell". Please verify and source it. -- 23:09, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

  • It's from the lecture Life in the Universe, in the paragraph which begins "What is the explanation of why we have not been visited?" This page mentions the date of that lecture as 1996. Hypnosifl 07:46, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

bold text vs. non bold text[edit]

I'm a touch confused as to what the difference between bold text and non bold text is... Does anyone know?


  • There is no prescribed route to follow to arrive at a new idea. You have to make the intuitive leap. But the difference is that once you've made the intuitive leap you have to justify it by filling in the intermediate steps. In my case, it often happens that I have an idea, but then I try to fill in the intermediate steps and find that they don't work, so I have to give it up
    • Appears in a snippet from New York Times Magazine that google books dates to 1983, see here. Unfortunately the snippet doesn't include the name of the article or the exact date. It might be the article "The Universe and Dr. Hawking" from Jan 23 which is referenced in this letter, but the article itself doesn't seem to be in the online archive, maybe someone can check a library copy. Hypnosifl 08:53, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
  • You have to be creative to do science. Otherwise you're just repeating tired formulas
My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.
  • People need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit.
  • I find that American & Scandinavian accents work better with women.
    • Response to a question about the American accent of his synthesiser
  • Maybe my variety is due to bad absorption of vitamins.
    • After being asked by the British Medical Journal why his condition had evolved differently from a typical case of motor neurone disease.
  • The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
  • To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.
    • This is from his Foreward to the 2007 book The Physics of Star Trek, I added it to the "Quotes" section. Hypnosifl 09:39, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays (1993)[edit]

Could someone please elaborate on his example about fluid dynamics:

"These are approximations in which the very large number of particles are replaced by a few quantities. An example is fluid mechanics ... I want to suggest that the concept of free will and moral responsibility for our actions are really an effective theory in the sense of fluid mechanics"


Regarding Stephen Hawkings Intellectual property rights[edit]

The following link has a disclaimer at the top saying no part of the material is to be reproduced; although it would improve the spacetime article; though it also includes the oft quoted line this is why we haven't been over run by tourists from the future. [1]. CensoredScribe (talk) 19:24, 22 January 2016 (UTC)