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Stephen Hawking warns world ‘in danger’ from Trump and Brexit in message from ‘beyond the grave’

Physicist condemned 'global revolt against experts, including scientists'

Jane Dalton
Monday 15 October 2018 18:50 BST
Stephen Hawking in quotes

Stephen Hawking has “spoken from beyond the grave” to warn the world that science and education are under threat around the world.

The cosmologist, who had motor neurone disease, recorded a message before he died in March at the age of 76, and his words were broadcast at a launch event in London for his final book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions.

Professor Hawking warned in the message that education and science were “in danger now more than ever before” and that experts were not being respected.

He cited the election of Donald Trump and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union as part of “a global revolt against experts, and that includes scientists”.

The physicist acknowledged that science had yet to overcome major challenges for the world, including climate change, overpopulation, species extinction, deforestation and the degradation of the oceans.

“We are ... in danger of becoming culturally isolated and insular and increasingly remote from where progress is being made,” he said.

“What lies ahead for those who are young now? I can say with confidence that their future will depend more on science and technology than any previous generation’s has done.”

And he urged young people “to look up at the stars and not down at your feet ... And wonder about what makes the universe exist”.

He said: “It matters that you don’t give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future.”

Professor Hawking lived for more than five decades with motor neurone disease, which left him paralysed, communicating through a voice-generating computer. In June, his ashes were buried in Westminster Abbey, between the graves of Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton.

His daughter, Lucy, who attended the book launch, said hearing her father’s unmistakable voice had been “very emotional”.

“I turned away, because I had tears forming in my eyes,” she said.

“I feel sometimes like he’s still here because we talk about him and we hear his voice and we see images of him, and then we have the reminder that he’s left us.

“We think he would have been very honoured to take his place in history.

“He never liked to be alone; he always wanted to be in the centre of everything.”

In the book, Professor Hawking sets out his answers to “big questions” on topics ranging from time travel to Brexit.

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