These 10 genius Stephen Hawking quotes will inspire you to dream big.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

Stephen Hawking, universally beloved scientist and one of the greatest minds of our generation, has died at age 76.

The theoretical physicist, best known for his work in cosmology (particularly with black holes), was both a visionary and an inspiration. Outside his vast intelligence (of which he was very modest, once saying that people who boasted about IQs were losers), he was also a study in resilience and perseverance.

At the age of 21, Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The disease progresses quickly, and Hawking was given only a short time to live, but he survived for decades and stayed mobile with use of a wheelchair.


Hawking never stopped working, writing about the nature of the universe and traveling from country to country to lecture enthralled audiences.

"Although there was a cloud hanging over my future," Hawking said of his diagnosis,"I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research."

Stephen Hawking being honored with the Congressional Medal of Freedom. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

In 1988, Hawking published "A Brief History of Time," which accomplished, as The Independent notes, the "impossible" tasks of not only taking the entire history of time and space and relating it all in just one volume but also making it easy to read and understand for everyone — not just fellow scientists.

"However, if we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable by everyone, not just by a few scientists," Hawking wrote at the end of the book. "Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God."

Hawking's influence exceeded the field of science. He was a pop culture phenomenon and an arbiter of great advice — not just on the nature of the universe, but on life itself.

(After all, he was on "The Simpsons." And who didn't love him dropping an epic burn on Jon Oliver.)

“My goal is simple," Hawking once said of his work. "It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”

Hawking was an inspiration for us all.

He will be deeply missed. And as the celebration of his life flows on social media — who could forget the time he threw a party for time travelers and no one showed up — we're celebrating Hawking's contributions to this world with some of his most inspirational quotes, the ones that remind us to look forward, look upward, and never forget the common humanity we all share.

Stephen Hawking meeting with Nelson Mandela. Photo by Denis Farrell/AFP/Getty Images

On moving forward in the face of adversity:

"Be curious. However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up."

On the importance of a sense of humor:

"Life would be tragic if it weren't funny."

On the universe:

"It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love."

On what makes humans unique:

"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special."

On the power of communication:

“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn't have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”

On the true meaning of intelligence:

"Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change."

On creating your own fate:

"I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road."

On knowledge:

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."

On the power of possibility:

"Time travel used to be thought of as just science fiction, but Einstein’s general theory of relativity allows for the possibility that we could warp space-time so much that you could go off in a rocket and return before you set out.”

On living your best life:

"Here are the most important pieces of advice that I've passed on to my children. One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don't throw it away."

Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.

We know that mammals feed their young with milk from their own bodies, and we know that whales are mammals. But the logistics of how some whales make breastfeeding happen has been a bit of a mystery for scientists. Such has been the case with sperm whales.

Sperm whales are uniquely shaped, with humongous, block-shaped heads that house the largest brains in the animal world. Like other cetaceans, sperm whale babies rely on their mother's milk for sustenance in their first year or two. And also like other cetaceans, a sperm whale mama's nipple is inverted—it doesn't stick out from her body like many mammals, but rather is hidden inside a mammary slit.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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