There is no God — that’s the conclusion of the celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking, whose final book is published Tuesday.
The book, which was completed by his family after his death, presents answers to the questions that Hawking said he received most during his time on Earth. Other bombshells the British scientist left his readers with include the belief that alien life is out there, artificial intelligence could outsmart humans and time travel can’t be ruled out.
“There is no God. No one directs the universe,” he writes in “Brief Answers to the Big Questions.”
“For centuries, it was believed that disabled people like me were living under a curse that was inflicted by God,” he adds. “I prefer to think that everything can be explained another way, by the laws of nature.”
Hawking suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, for most of his adult life. The scientist died while still working on the book, which his family and colleagues finished with the help of his vast personal archives.
Hawking’s final book probably won’t have a big impact in the scientific world. Still, as Matin Durrani writes for Physics World, there’s a good chance the book will strike a chord with a popular audience.
“Brief Answers to the Big Questions will appeal to school students, undergraduates and non-scientists with an appetite for the grand challenges in physics. Those who are more familiar with cosmology, relativity and astronomy will not find much that is new, although it is always interesting to see Hawking’s take on affairs. In essence, this book – especially the final chapter “How do we shape the future?” – will stand as Hawking’s manifesto. Optimistic, upbeat and visionary, it sees science – and scientific understanding – as vital for the future of humanity.”