Beyond Science, Stephen Hawking Had a Strong Political Opinion 

Beyond the realm of cosmology, Stephen Hawking also had a strong political take on Trump, Brexit and War in Syria. 

3 min read
Stephen Hawking passed away on 14 March, 2018 at 76 years of age. 

Veteran physicist, cosmologist and professor Stephen Hawking breathed his last on Wednesday, 14 March, leaving behind a black hole in the mortal world.

Hawking, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21, was told by his doctors that he would only live for two more years. Like every other standardised theory he had a problem with, Hawking decided to challenge and make a breakthrough in this one as well, and went on to create scientific history till the ripe old age of 76.

While Hawking has been the poster-man for and inspiration behind every science club formed in school, with his personal journey of struggling through his disability to making way towards greatness marking every inspirational textbook, Hawking’s identity goes far beyond that of a kind of ‘Science Lord’ awarded to him by his fans.

Turns out that Hawking also harnessed an equally strong political viewpoint, and in the past, had often put across powerful statements on certain global issues.


On Brexit

Britain decided to shock the world, by cutting a clean break from the European Union in 2016, something that like most of its citizens, greatly troubled Hawking too.

While accepting an award from British Prime Minister Theresa May at the “Pride of Britain Awards” in 2016, The Independent reports Hawking saying:

Thank you Prime Minister for those very kind words. I deal with tough mathematical questions every day, but please don’t ask me to help with Brexit.
Stephen Hawking in the “Pride of British Awards”, as reported by The Independent

Hawking had also said that Brexit would have a damaging impact on the availability of funds and grants for the research that he and other scientists wished to do. He mentions this in a piece he wrote in The Guardian.

I warned before the Brexit vote that it would damage scientific research in Britain, that a vote to leave would be a step backward, and the electorate, or at least a sufficiently significant proportion of it, took no more notice of me than any of the other political leaders, trade unionists, artists, scientists, businessmen and celebrities who all gave the same unheeded advice to the rest of the country.
Stephen Hawking, in his authored piece in The Guardian

On Donald Trump

Breaking his silence on the shocking win of US President Donald Trump in 2016, Hawking in his opinion piece “This is the most dangerous time for our planet” published on The Guardian, spoke about the urgent need for the human species to “work together”.

“We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans,” he said, in his opinion piece.


Speaking about Trump in particular, he said:

To do that (protect the world), we need to break down, not build up, barriers within and between nations. If we are to stand a chance of doing that, the world’s leaders need to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many.
Stephen Hawking, in his opinion piece on The Guardian

On Syria

In another hard-hitting piece titled “What’s happening in Syria is an abomination” that he wrote for The Guardian in 2014, Hawking called out the forces encouraging the war in Syria.

What’s happening in Syria is an abomination, one that the world is watching coldly from a distance. Where is our emotional intelligence, our sense of collective justice?
Stephen Hawking said in his article published in the Guardian

Calling for a halt to the war, that killed thousands of innocents caught in the cross-fire between the army and rebel forces, he said: “We must work together to end this war and to protect the children of Syria. The international community has watched from the sidelines for three years as this conflict rages, engulfing all hope. As a father and grandfather I watch the suffering of Syria's children and must now say: no more.”

(With inputs from The Guardian and The Independent)

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