Stephen Hawking: Professor and writer of physics, author A Brief History of Time

Born: January 8, 1942

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

Stephen Hawking has had plenty opportunity to demonstrate the truth of the above statement.  As a child, his physics tutor remembers,

It was only necessary for him to know that something could be done, and he could do it without looking to see how other people did it. [...] He didn’t have very many books, and he didn’t take notes. Of course, his mind was completely different from all of his contemporaries.

Today, though he has been stricken by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, he remains determined.

It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward.

He also retains a wry sense of humor.

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

It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.

To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit.

Hawking’s take on the value of the human spirit will, hopefully, encourage others.

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.

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