Famed physicist Stephen Hawking was much better known for his brilliant mind and vast contributions to science than his political views. But the late Hawking was clearly no fan of President Donald Trump.
Hawking, who passed away at age 76 in Cambridge, UK, repeatedly issued dire warnings of what a Trump presidency could mean for the world. Before Trump was even elected, Hawking described the then-real estate mogul as ‘a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator’ and repeatedly took issue with the Republican candidate’s views on climate change, foreign policy and other key issues.
Hawking was passionate and ceaseless in his warnings about the dangers of climate change and how Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement could exacerbate the problem and have serious consequences for the planet.
Stephen Hawking, despite suffering from ALS for decades, contributed greatly to science
Hawking stated in a BBC interview that: ‘Climate change is one of the great dangers we face and it’s one we can prevent if we act now. By denying the evidence for climate change and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children.’
According to Hawking, Earth could soon turn into a super-heated planet like Venus with sulfuric rain fall in the future if climate change is not eventually halted and reversed. He also warned of the dangers of increased militarization and advanced weaponry, believing they could ultimately cause the downfall of the human race.
‘There is no sign of conflict lessening, and the development of militarized technology and weapons of mass destruction could make that disastrous. The best hope for the survival of the human race might be independent colonies in space,’ the physicist said.
Who was Stephen Hawking?
Stephen Hawking was a theoretical physicist who made many significant contributions to science and cosmology despite suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for decades.
Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, UK.
He took a strong interest in physics and graduated with a degree in natural sciences from the prestigious Oxford University before obtaining a master’s degree and PhD from the University of Cambridge.
After experiencing increasing clumsiness and slurred speech his last year at Oxford University, Hawking was diagnosed with ALS in 1963 at just 21 years old. Despite being given just two years to initially live, Hawking survived for decades even as the disease gradually ravaged his body and left him paralyzed.
Despite suffering from the condition, Hawking was able to make many notable contributions to physics and cosmology over the course of his long career, pioneering groundbreaking new theories on quantum mechanics and black holes. He published the bestselling book ‘A Brief History of Time’ in 1988 and also served as the Director of Research for the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge.
Hawking passed away on March 14, 2008. He received many accolades over the course of his career, including being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and being named as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London.
Stephen Hawking predictions
Over the course of his storied career, Hawking made a number of intriguing predictions as to what the future of humanity may hold.
Notably, he warned of the dangers that climate change poses to the future of the Earth and sharply rebuked President Trump for withdrawing from the Paris Agreement in 2017.
He also warned that advanced artificial intelligence could render humanity obsolete and also urged space colonization as a way for the human race to survive among the stars, due to the increasing risks of global warming and devastating wars on Earth.
Perhaps most notably, Hawking was adamant in his bleak views on the future of the human race, believing its extinction was ‘a near certainty’ within the next 10,000 years due to the chances of cataclysmic disasters occurring.
Stephen Hawking political views
Although best-known for his contributions to scientific research, Hawking also wasn’t afraid to make his political views known to the public.
He publicly opposed the 2003 Iraq War and strongly supported nuclear disarmament. Hawking was also a longtime supporter of the Labour Party in the UK and even endorsed Jeremy Corbyn in 2017.
Additionally, Hawking was a vocal supporter of universal healthcare and stem cell research. He also opposed Brexit and Scottish independence in the lead up to the 2014 referendum.
Hawking sharply criticized President Donald Trump for withdrawing from the Paris Agreement
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, is a degenerative motor neuron disease that impacts roughly 2.5 per 100,000 people per year. Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with the disease in 1963 and famously lived for decades despite a grim prognosis from doctors.
Symptoms include difficulty swallowing and speaking as well as muscle twitching due to the progressive muscle atrophy it inflicts over a period of time.
Usual onset occurs in the 50s and 60s. Its cause is mostly unknown, though about five to ten per cent of cases are inherited.
Sadly, there is no known cure for the disease and typical life expectancy is approximately two to four years. However, the ice bucket challenge social media phenomenon in recent years has helped to increase the public’s awareness of the disease and raise millions of dollars to conduct research into curing it.