Quotes Tagged "hawking"
When I was growing up it was still acceptable—not to me but in social terms—to say that one was not interested in science and did not see the point in bothering with it. This is no longer the case. Let me be clear. I am not promoting the idea that all young people should grow up to be scientists. I do not see that as an ideal situation, as the world needs people with a wide variety of skills. But I am advocating that all young people should be familiar with and confident around scientific subjects, whatever they choose to do. They need to be scientifically literate, and inspired to engage with developments in science and technology in order to learn more. A world where only a tiny super-elite are capable of understanding advanced science and technology and its applications would be, to my mind, a dangerous and limited one. I seriously doubt whether long-range beneficial projects such as cleaning up the oceans or curing diseases in the developing world would be given priority. Worse, we could find that technology is used against us and that we might have no power to stop it. I don’t believe in boundaries, either for what we can do in our personal lives or for what life and intelligence can accomplish in our universe. We stand at a threshold of important discoveries in all areas of science. Without doubt, our world will change enormously in the next fifty years. We will find out what happened at the Big Bang. We will come to understand how life began on Earth. We may even discover whether life exists elsewhere in the universe. While the chances of communicating with an intelligent extra-terrestrial species may be slim, the importance of such a discovery means we must not give up trying. We will continue to explore our cosmic habitat, sending robots and humans into space. We cannot continue to look inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet. Through scientific endeavour and technological innovation, we must look outwards to the wider universe, while also striving to fix the problems on Earth. And I am optimistic that we will ultimately create viable habitats for the human race on other planets. We will transcend the Earth and learn to exist in space. This is not the end of the story, but just the beginning of what I hope will be billions of years of life flourishing in the cosmos. And one final point—we never really know where the next great scientific discovery will come from, nor who will make it. Opening up the thrill and wonder of scientific discovery, creating innovative and accessible ways to reach out to the widest young audience possible, greatly increases the chances of finding and inspiring the new Einstein. Wherever she might be. So remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future.
The human mind is an incredible thing. It can conceive of the magnificence of the heavens and the intricacies of the basic components of matter. Yet for each mind to achieve its full potential, it needs a spark. The spark of enquiry and wonder. Often that spark comes from a teacher. Allow me to explain. I wasn’t the easiest person to teach, I was slow to learn to read and my handwriting was untidy. But when I was fourteen my teacher at my school in St Albans, Dikran Tahta, showed me how to harness my energy and encouraged me to think creatively about mathematics. He opened my eyes to maths as the blueprint of the universe itself. If you look behind every exceptional person there is an exceptional teacher. When each of us thinks about what we can do in life, chances are we can do it because of a teacher. [...] The basis for the future of education must lie in schools and inspiring teachers. But schools can only offer an elementary framework where sometimes rote-learning, equations and examinations can alienate children from science. Most people respond to a qualitative, rather than a quantitative, understanding, without the need for complicated equations. Popular science books and articles can also put across ideas about the way we live. However, only a small percentage of the population read even the most successful books. Science documentaries and films reach a mass audience, but it is only one-way communication.