Stephen Hawking’s Last Words and Final Act of Kindness

In the annals of science, few names resonate as powerfully as that of the brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking. Known for his ground-breaking theories on black holes and his formidable intellectual curiosity, Hawking continued to probe the mysteries of the universe until his death in March 2018. The last words he left the world, and a final act of kindness, remain as a testament to the complex character of this extraordinary man.

Born on January 8, 1942, Stephen Hawking grew to be a figurehead in the realm of theoretical physics and cosmology. His most notable contribution lies in his discovery that black holes emit radiation, now known as Hawking Radiation. A constant seeker of the universe's truths, Hawking passed away on March 14, 2018, leaving a remarkable scientific legacy.

Hawking's Final Words

Hawking's final words were documented in his posthumously completed book, "Brief Answers To The Big Questions." The answers that Hawking provided in this publication underscored his standing as a staunch atheist.

"There is no God. No one directs the universe," Hawking stated unequivocally. This was not the first time Hawking expressed his views on the divine. He once compared the brain to a computer that ceases to function when its parts fail, dismissing notions of heaven and afterlife as comforting fairy tales for those apprehensive of the dark.

Hawking went beyond merely refuting God's existence; he offered an alternative explanation for our presence in the universe. According to him, we owe our existence not to a faceless deity but to the laws of physics. He added that while some might refer to these laws as "God," they are not a deity one can personally encounter or engage with.

Hawking's Last Act of Kindness

Despite his disbelief in a divine power, Hawking performed an act of immense kindness in his final days that demonstrated his inherent humanity. On the day of his funeral, his family donated funds for a lavish Easter meal for hundreds of homeless individuals in Cambridge. Each table bore a note, "Today's lunch is a gift from Stephen. From the Hawking family," encapsulating the profound compassion of this extraordinary man.

Though Hawking did not believe in God, his dedication to understanding the universe's mysteries and his acts of kindness left an indelible impact. His final words and actions continue to stir discussions on science, religion, and the nature of existence. While he may not have subscribed to traditional religious beliefs, his life's work served a sort of 'religion' for him: a steadfast commitment to science and the pursuit of knowledge.

Final Thoughts

Stephen Hawking remains a remarkable figure whose beliefs and actions continue to influence and inspire. His final words underscore his unwavering belief in science as the fundamental answer to life's biggest questions. His act of kindness, even in his absence, reflects the deep empathy he possessed.

Wynne Lee, MD

Dr. Wynne Lee is a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), where she provides primary care.

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