Brief Answers to the Big Questions: Awesome summary by ebookhi

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Author: Stephen Hawking 

Brief Answers to the Big Questions Stephen Hawking 2018

Brief Answers to the Big Questions
Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Why does Stephen Hawking have all the answers? (Brief Answers to the Big Questions)

Brief Answers to the Big Questions: At 75, Stephen Hawking could only move a few facial muscles. But the paralysis did not stop the scientific searches of the great physicist and popularizer of science – every morning he put on a suit and got to work. 

By his example, Hawking proved that nothing is impossible for those who can “look not only at their feet but also at the stars.” Neither illness nor loss of speech prevented him – Hawking wrote books and lectured using an electronic voice. Hawking wanted to be heard – and found a way to achieve this. He was ready to overcome any difficulties so that people would not forget about eternal issues in the routine of everyday life.

What could be more important than dreaming, creating, and inventing? 

What could be more important than finally finding out who and why created the Universe? 

What could be more important than finding ways to colonize space? 

Hawking was not only a great physicist but also a great optimist. However, by the end of his life, even he had no illusions about the future of the Earth. Hawking warned: if humanity is not destroyed by a meteorite fall, then people will destroy the Earth themselves! Our overpopulated and polluted planet no longer looks like a comfortable place to live. Therefore, Hawking believed that the main task of the next hundred years was not to save the Earth but to find a way to break out of it. 

At first glance, Hawking’s plan to save humanity is very simple. However, for it to work, we need to learn how to properly prioritize. To live the way Hawking himself did: not only for his own comfort but also for the future of the whole Earth. 

Not everyone has to be an inventor or an astronaut – there are other ways to contribute to the salvation of mankind. Hawking himself considered his mission on Earth not only theoretical physics but also the popularization of science. He was worried about the imperfection of the education system – and how he could correct other people’s flaws with the help of books and lectures. 

Hawking did not stop looking for answers to the most important questions until the end of his life. Brief Answers to the Big Questions collects Hawking’s latest writings, and the conclusions he reached as a result of decades of scientific and educational work. 

After reading the book, you will learn:

Who, if not God, created the Universe?
Is there intelligent life outside of Earth?
Why is it important to colonize space?
How do inspire children and teenagers to study science?

Who created the Universe?

Until recently, people were sure: that the world was created by the gods. They also manage it. And how else to explain solar eclipses, thunderstorms, or hurricanes, if not the wrath of the gods?! Today, even a believer will laugh when he hears that a lightning strike is caused by the fury of a deity. However, the same person will deny the possibility of the accidental origin of the universe. 

Accepting this idea takes courage. You will face new, difficult questions. If God did not create the Universe, then no one controls our destiny? Is there no heaven or afterlife? 

Stephen Hawking: “Belief in an afterlife is wishful thinking. When we die, we turn to dust. But while we live, we can influence a lot. And we are also able to appreciate the great design of the universe – and for that I am eternally grateful.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Recipe for the creation of the universe from theoretical physicists

If you believe in God, it may be difficult for you to accept that the mesmerizing expanses of the cosmos appeared on their own. However, scientists have convincing evidence of the origin of the universe without the participation of a higher mind.

Stephen Hawking: “I believe that the universe arose spontaneously, out of nothing, according to scientific laws.”

According to modern scientific concepts, only three ingredients are required to create the universe. 

  • The matter is a substance that has mass. The matter is not only stones, water, or dust, but also gas clouds. 
  • Energy. Energy permeates the entire Universe and launches processes that maintain it in an infinitely changing state.

When you look at the sun and feel warmth on your face, you feel energy.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions
  • Space. We cannot determine the size of the Universe, but we know for sure that it cannot be called close. The expanses of space stretch out in all directions – and are seemingly endless. 

But where to get matter, energy, and space? Maybe God created them? Scientists are sure that even here there was no God, unless, of course, the forces of nature are called God. 

Thanks to Einstein, it became clear that energy and mass are two sides of the same coin. The famous equation E = mc² just shows that mass can be considered as energy – and vice versa. Therefore, if you want to create the universe, you only need energy and space – the two most important ingredients. 

Where then to take space and energy? According to physicists, space and energy appeared as a result of the spontaneous Big Bang. That is, it is precisely the moment of the Big Bang that can be considered the “birthday” of the entire Universe. 

In everyday life, nothing appears by itself – and it is difficult for us to imagine how an entire universe could arise from nothing. But if you get to the world of atoms and get to the subatomic level, then you will understand that from “nothing” you can actually create everything! At the subatomic level, you can see that protons appear randomly, combine for a while – and disappear to appear somewhere else. 

Back to the Future

Stephen Hawking: “At the very beginning, there was no time in the universe, just as there is no time in modern black holes.”

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Let’s take a trip back in time and see how the universe was born. As you move back into the past, you will notice how the universe is shrinking. She deflates like a balloon! You will see the “newborn” Universe – an infinitely small, infinitely dense black hole. Is it possible to see the moment when it did not exist? The very beginning of the Big Bang? Not! Because time only started at the moment of the Big Bang.

Stephen Hawking: “When people ask me if God created the universe, I answer that this question does not make sense. Time didn’t exist before the Big Bang, so God didn’t have time to create it.”

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

What is negative energy?

In order for the Universe to materialize from nothing, it needs “negative” energy.

Imagine that you want to build a snowman. You approach the snowdrift and take the snow. A recess remains in the snowdrift. You have created not only a snowman, but also an empty space in a snowdrift. The stuff that used to be a snowdrift is in the snowman – and everything is perfectly balanced. The same principle underlies the creation of the universe.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

When positive energy appeared as a result of the Big Bang, negative energy also appeared at the same time. Same amount! 

The sum of negative and positive equals zero – this is the law of nature. The negative energy that appeared at the time of the Big Bang did not disappear. Our Universe is like a huge accumulator that has accumulated negative energy. This energy is still in space and balances everything. 

Why is it important to colonize space?

Stephen Hawking: “Don’t forget to look not only at your feet, but also at the stars!”

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Why think about deep space if Earth has enough problems of its own? Wouldn’t it be better to spend money on saving our planet from an ecological catastrophe, and not on launching another spaceship? 

Until 1492, those who agreed to finance the expeditions of Columbus were considered insane: why waste money ?! However, today it is difficult for us to imagine the world without the discovery of the New World.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

5 compelling reasons for space colonization

Stephen Hawking: “I fear for the future of mankind if it does not go into space.”

Brief Answers to the Big Questions
  • Resource depletion. The earth is already small for us: it is overpopulated and depleted. A little more time will pass, and people will fight because of the lack of fertile soil and drinking water.
  • Nuclear war. There are enough stocks of nuclear weapons on Earth to destroy all of humanity. The threat of nuclear war has not passed, although we have all forgotten about this danger. New nuclear powers are emerging – and this increases the risk of accidents and terrorists seizing the atomic bomb. 
  • Global warming. Due to the loss of tropical forests and rising ocean temperatures, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising. In the future, these processes will create a greenhouse effect – and accelerate global warming. Over time, the Earth will become similar to Venus. It will be flooded with sulfuric acid rains, and the air temperature will rise to 460 ° C! 
  • Asteroid impact. The last collision of the Earth with a large asteroid occurred about 66 million years ago. It is believed that it was because of him that the dinosaurs died out. Sooner or later, such a collision will repeat itself – this is guaranteed by the theory of probability and the physical laws of the Universe. 
  • Rise of the robots. Artificial intelligence is not only a useful but also a potentially very dangerous invention. It is possible that one-day artificial intelligence will be engaged in self-improvement and will set its own goals. 

Stephen Hawking’s Space Colonization Plan:

  • Creation of bases for long-term residence on the nearest planets or their satellites. For example, on the Moon or Mars.
  • Search for a planet or satellite with an atmosphere suitable for life and water supplies.

Europa, the moon of Jupiter, is covered in ice. There is a high probability that there is water and possibly living organisms under the ice.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions
  • Achieving autonomy on new planets or satellites – a full-fledged existence independent of the Earth.

There could be dozens of habitable planets outside our solar system. For example, Proxima-b. Studies have shown that it has a lot in common with the Earth. Unfortunately, with the current level of technology development, we cannot make such long journeys. Even a flight to the nearest star and back will require at least 8 years, and it will take about 50 thousand years to get to the center of the Galaxy!

In 2016, Stephen Hawking and businessman Yuri Milner announced the launch of the Breakthrough Starshot research project. The goal of the project is to send a probe to Alpha Centauri.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

If humanity unites its efforts, interstellar flights may become a reality in our lifetime.

How do captivate children and teenagers with science?

Paradoxically, science and technology play an increasingly important role in our lives, but few teenagers dream of devoting themselves to science. If we do not revive interest in science among modern schoolchildren, technological progress will stop. For the emergence of new Einsteins, it is necessary to change the educational system and develop in children those qualities that are inherent in geniuses. 

1. Curiosity

What does a six-month-old baby throwing a toy out of a crib have in common with an astrophysicist investigating the trajectory of stars? They are driven by the same instinct – the desire to find answers to the questions “What will happen if …” and “How does it work?”.

Stephen Hawking: “As a child, I took apart toys for parts to understand how they work. I’m still trying to figure out how everything works – only the scale has changed. Now I’m not interested in toys, but in the structure of the Universe, which I study based on the laws of physics. 

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Each of us has an instinct for exploration. However, the modern education system not only does not develop natural curiosity but also suppresses it. Children don’t need ready-made answers to questions they haven’t asked. They need space to explore the world and teachers who show the beauty of scientific discoveries. 

Ordinary schools offer children only cramming, solving equations, and making them stressed out because of exams. All this causes not interest in science, but rejection. How to fix it? Change the program: most people are better at not quantitative but qualitative explanations. Even the most complex things can be explained in an accessible way, without formulas and equations. 

2. Imagination

Why can’t even a super-powerful computer make a scientific discovery on its own? After all, its capabilities, such as the speed of information processing, exceed the capabilities of the human brain. The thing is, the computer has no imagination. Great scientific discoveries happen only due to the uniquely human ability to fantasize and see the world not as it is. 

3. Independent thinking

All brilliant people have one thing in common – the ability to look at the problem in a way that no one has looked before. A person who knows how to think independently will not be afraid of someone else’s “common sense”. He has the courage to implement ideas that others seem absurd. 

In 1895, Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society of London, declared that he did not believe in the existence of heavier-than-air flying machines. In 1903, the Wright brothers took to the air in the plane they created. 

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Our future: unanswered questions

More recently, we could not imagine a world in which there is the Internet, mobile phones, and social networks. Similarly, it is difficult for us to imagine what the world will be like in fifty or a hundred years. However, you can try to predict something:

  • We will master outer space: we will mine rare metals on the Moon and fly on business trips to Mars. We may even encounter intelligent life in the universe. There seems to be little chance of this, but we should still try to look for “brothers in mind” in other star systems. 
  • We will improve artificial intelligence and improve the technologies that we have. Already today, thanks to the achievements of science, people with disabilities can move and communicate. But this is only the beginning. We are on the verge of important discoveries in all fields of science – and it is hard to even imagine how these discoveries can change our lives. 

Stephen Hawking: “Technology gave me back the voice that the disease took away. I was lucky that I lost my voice already in the computer age. 

Brief Answers to the Big Questions
  • Fusion will provide unlimited energy supplies, and we will switch completely to electric vehicles. If thermonuclear fusion becomes the most popular source of energy, we will pollute the environment less and possibly stop the process of global warming. 
  • According to the theory of relativity, if it is possible to travel faster than light, then time travel is also possible. The only thing that separates us from these journeys is the lack of technological ability to travel at the speed of light.
  • We will learn how to change and improve human DNA. We will be able to prevent genetic abnormalities and perhaps even improve mental and physical abilities. However, “artificial evolution” will inevitably lead to new problems. How will “enhanced” and “non-enhanced” people interact? 
  • Sooner or later we will find answers to global questions. One day we will know exactly what happened during the Big Bang that created our Universe. We will also learn how life arose on Earth. But these are the questions that the next generation will decide. 

10 main thoughts

1. Of all living beings on Earth, only man is able to appreciate the great design and beauty of the universe.

2. According to scientific laws, the Universe arose spontaneously, as a result of the Big Bang.

3. At the very beginning, there was no time in the Universe, just as there is no time in modern black holes.

4. Only three ingredients are required to create the universe: matter, energy, and space. Energy permeates the entire Universe and launches processes that maintain it in an infinitely changing state.

5. There are no boundaries in the Universe. The inquisitive human mind has no boundaries either. One day we will break out of the Earth – and find our new home on another planet in the solar system, and possibly in another galaxy.

6. Our planet will sooner or later become uninhabitable due to the consequences of global warming, nuclear war, or an asteroid fall. Therefore, the colonization of space is the most important task of the next hundred years.

7. There may be dozens of habitable planets outside our solar system. If humanity unites its efforts, interstellar flights may become a reality in our lifetime!

8. Mankind needs new Einsteins and new scientific discoveries. And for this, it is important to raise the prestige of science and change the educational system. Education should develop curiosity in children, and the ability to fantasize and think for themselves.

9. Try to find meaning in what you see and do. As often as possible, think about why and for what the Universe exists. Do not forget to look not only under your feet but also at the stars.

10. Be curious and never stop dreaming. No matter how difficult life may seem, you can always change something – never give up!

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