When Stephen Hawking speaks, you listen. The world-renowned physicist gave a speech recently as he toured the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to support research for Lou Gehrig’s disease, a condition from which he suffers. In his speech, Hawking urges scientists to continue exploring space to secure the future of humanity. “ I don’t think we will survive another thousand years without escaping beyond our fragile planet,” he says.

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The speech, which Hawking originally recorded for his 70th birthday celebration at Cambridge University in 2012, is both a look back at Hawking’s life and a look forward at the future. Hawking says, “Recent advances in cosmology have been achieved from space where there are uninterrupted views of our vast and beautiful universe. But we must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity.” He also joked that he has been starting his space training early, a reference to his 2007 trip into zero gravity aboard Zero Gravity Corporation’s modified Boeing 747.

Hawking was touring the medical center in order to stem-cell research lab, which has been studying ways to slow the effects of Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS, which gradually paralyzes all of the muscles of the body. Hawking, who is 71, has been living with the disease for over 50 years, which is unusual given that most sufferers live around ten years. Hawking is known not only for his brilliant mind – he has been called the modern-day Einstein – but also for his ability to bring complex cosmological concepts to the masses. His book A Brief History of Time, which explains a wide range of subjects in cosmology, has sold over 10-million copies.

via the Washington Post

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