Stephen Hawking’s Powerful 100 Year Prediction

Stephen Hawking’s Powerful 100 Year Prediction

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“With climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious.” – Professor Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is one of the most well-respected scientists in history. To celebrate his 75th birthday, the BBC channel will air a new documentary titled “Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth.”

According to a press release, Hawking explains humankind’s “precarious” situation, including “his predictions that the human race only has 100 years before we need to colonize another planet.”

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Unsurprisingly, Hawking is taking a bashing for – what some consider to be – an extremely radical perspective. The fact that Hawking initially predicted a 1,000-year time period for colonization is only adding to the scrutiny.

In this article, we’ll discuss a bit about Professor Hawking and his work. We’ll contextualize – to the best of our ability – the genius’s predictions.

Who is Stephen Hawking?

If you were to pose this question to anyone in the scientific community, you’d likely be mocked; perhaps relentlessly.

(While this writer was vaguely familiar with Hawking’s work, it was actually a documentary about the man’s life that provided most of the knowledge!)

Hawking is a graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge University (two of the most prestigious institutions in the word), where he majored in Physics and Cosmology, respectively. He graduated near the top of his class despite “not very much work.”

At Oxford, Dr. Hawking was diagnosed with a rare form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neuron disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The condition has rendered Hawking completely paralyzed. He is able to communicate and give lectures via cutting-edge technologies developed by many companies: Lenovo, Intel, Speech Plus, and SwiftKey.

Professor Hawking is best known for his work on gravitation, gravitational radiation, black holes, and wave functions. His book, A Brief History of Time (published in 1992), made accessible his elaborate theories to non-specialists. The book ultimately became a bestseller, and has sold more than 10 million copies in 20 years; the work has also been translated into 35 languages.

Where Hawking “ranks” among the best physicists of all time is a matter of fierce debate – a debate that Hawking himself never wanted.

In many ways, Hawking doesn’t fit the traditional “mold” of a scientist. He downplays his intelligence (“People who boast about their IQ are losers”),  has an unabashed sense of humor (“It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away”), and is stoically optimistic (“Where there is life, there is hope.”)

Hawking, despite his stubborn opposition, has been called “The most influential physicist since Einstein.” (Which Hawking says is “Rubbish.”) With this kind of clout, people tend to listen when the Professor speaks.

Famous Scientist Says Humans Move to a New Planet in 100 Years

In November of 2016, Hawking’s warnings were three-fold: artificial intelligence, global warming, and nuclear war could destroy the Earth. “Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years.”

The phrase “next thousand or ten thousand years” is a source of pause for many. There’s a sizable difference between one to ten thousand years and one hundred. What possible reason can explain the physicist’s sudden “100 years” theory? Hawking specifically lists climate change, possible asteroid strikes, population growth, and epidemics as the biggest threats. (Nuclear war seems more plausible to many.)

Is colonization of another planet the answer? Is it possible, now or ever? Is it even necessary – in a thousand years or beyond?

Should I pack my bags?

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First, let’s examine the scientific rationale of Hawking’s “culprits” for extinction:

1. Climate change: Per NASA, 97-plus percent of actively publishing climate scientists concede “Climate-warming trends over the past century are likely due to human activities.” Few scientists deny the climate is changing, and that climate change following the Industrial Revolution has expedited this warming effect.

2. Overdue asteroid strikes: The last “civilization-ending” asteroid hit earth over 65 million years ago. Some scientists believe we’re “overdue,” as Professor Hawking suggests, but “NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordinate Office does not expect a major asteroid impact in the near future.”

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