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Ask Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking

The physicist and author Stephen Hawking will be 70 in January. Not bad for a man who was told he had just months to live in 1963 when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

To mark the occasion Cambridge University is hosting a scientific conference, The State of the Universe, at which Professor Hawking will give the keynote address on fundamental physics at the extremes: black holes and the Big Bang.

Professor Hawking has also agreed to give an interview to this programme, and in keeping with the celebratory nature of the event we thought we threw open the floor to you.

Thank you for all your questions. A selection of them can be found below.

YOUR QUESTIONS FOR PROFESSOR HAWKING

What, in your opinion, creates an evil mind?
Jim Reynolds (@petseye) via Twitter

Due to the constraints of communication over stellar distances and so any actual communication might be generational. Given then that you might never get to know the answer to a question asked of another Earth-like civilisation - what would you like that first question asked of that civilisation to be. Now imagine we are asked that first question by another civilisation, what would you expect that first question to be. I ask for both questions as I would imagine the question you want to ask personally to be different to what you would expect to be asked of us (or would it).
Donal Behan, Dublin Ireland, via email

I'd like to ask Prof Hawking why there is something rather than nothing
Lee Jordan (@llcoolj40) via Twitter

What big (or trivial) question keeps you awake at night?
Jeremy Braithwaite, Chelmsford via email

Will we ever be able to travel the kinds of distances that would enable us to colonise Keppler22b?
Mike Bull (@chinash0p) via Twitter

If I could tell a 12-year-old Stephen Hawking all he would achieve, would he be as impressed as the rest of us?
Paul Johnson, Sandhurst via email

If you could have the answer to the one burning question you have often wished to have the correct answer for... what would your question be ? And what would you expect the answer to be ?
Rob Stevenson, Nelson, New Zealand, via email

Do you still believe in quantum gravity, or a more classical Einstein model?
Elliot Fullwood (@ElliotFullwood) via Twitter

Do you think that in the next 100 years a unified theory will be found, and if so do you think it will be found using the current standard model, a re-written or completely new model.
Cameron Stradeski, London, England via email

How do you think it would affect us humans if we were to find a "unified theory of everything". Faced with a final explanation, what would we look for next?
Hanna Hellman, Stockholm, Sweden via email

If sun were magically to disappear how long before earth flew off at tangent? 9 minutes? Any evidence?
John Orton (@docjko) via Twitter

When should I start talking to my kids about the wave-partial duality of light?
John Kenner, Edmonton, Canada via email

Where did constituents of Big Bang originate?
John Bateman (@tasitus) via Twitter

If and when we finally get the answers to the big questions about the nature of the universe, will a reasonably intelligent and educated person be able to understand them or will cosmology always be incomprehensible to normal humans?
Edward Hubbard, Tamworth, England via email

Faster than light? Or not? #askhawking
Steven C (@Steven__C) via Twitter

Do you still believe in the possibility of a UTE (unified theory of everything) and if so how far are we away from having it? #AskHawking
Wayne Gibbins (@waynegibbins) via Twitter

Is the universe capable of hosting 'consciousness' outside of a physical body. i.e. can we transcend physicality? #AskHawking
Jason Eyre (@RouxCat) via Twitter

Theorists talk about the 'singularity', or point where normal human beings can't understand the pace of technological and scientific advance. Do you think we have reached that point? And do you think your scientific mind makes you in some way the embodiment of the modern 'superman'?
Tom Amos via Facebook

Are we any closer to understand what dark matter and dark energy really is? #AskHawking
Adam Burtt (@AdamBurtt) via Twitter

Dear Prof. Hawking, some people hypothesise that what we call our universe may be one of many. Is there any conceivable way that we would ever be able to detect and study these universes should they actually exist? Is it even falsifiable?
Toby North, Essex, UK via email

Can you tell me what will happen to this world in the near future?
Adisorn Treenate via Facebook

Was there a "time" when there was "nothing"?
Roland, Lagos, Nigeria via email

What is science, and how can it help us improve our social and economic lives?#AskHawking
Stephen Williams (@NotDrWilliams) via Twitter

In your opinion, is humanity capable of ever learning to internalise scientific method of enquiry, or will it remain largely with scientists.
Reza Zamani, London, UK via email

What are your thoughts on the current (unconfirmed) results from the LHC regarding faster than light travel and the potential for FTL travel for the human race...
Leigh, Cranleigh via twitter

If the Higgs Boson does not exist, what else can explain the existence of more dark matter than normal matter
Jeremy Lott, Walsall England via email

#AskHawking what would be the next big thing to research and discover in his eyes. Where should we me looking?
Martin Taylor (@krazyrocketman) via Twitter

Lev Landau said that cosmology is never in doubt, but always wrong. What part of modern cosmology do you think is wrong?
Michael de Podesta, Teddington, Middlesex via email

How confident is Mr H. that mankind has the capacity to understand reality? Are we being led up a "cul-de-sac".
David Watson (@DavidWatson50) via Twitter

Will the advance of scientific discovery ultimately extinguish the basis for religious thought?
John Hyslop, Newcastle via email

If you had one fact you wanted today listeners to learn after listening this morning, what would it be?
Chris Perkins (@chrisperks1709) via Twitter

What's your view on the suggestion that our universe (ourselves included) might be a simulation?
Mark Vandersluis, Sandhurst, UK via email

Without intelligent life forms, would the Universe have a point? #AskHawking
Rosa Monckton (@MoncktonR) via Twitter

@BBCr4today #askhawking is rationalism an article of faith?
Matthew Burling (@mjburling) via Twitter

Ask Stephen Hawkins: "Why are there questions?" Rubi Ahmad-Cooke aged 5
Andrew Ahmad-Cooke (@Ahmadcooke) via Twitter

Do you think the Human Race will ultimately survive all potential disasters and eventually colonise the stars
Matt Dotchon, Cardiff, Wales via email




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