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Stephen Hawking Claims Aggression Will Be Downfall of Human Race

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Lisa Winter

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1067 Stephen Hawking Claims Aggression Will Be Downfall of Human Race
Adaeze Uyanwah/ via Twitter

Physicist Stephen Hawking has been garnering quite a bit of attention this week, as Eddie Redmayne won an Academy Award for his portrayal of the scientist in "The Theory of Everything." However, Professor Hawking is also making headlines for a conversation he had with Adaeze Uyanwah, a 24-year-old student from California. Uyanwah was treated to a tour of London’s Science Museum accompanied by Hawking as part of her prize package from the “Guest of Honor” contest by During their time together at the museum, Uyanwah asked Hawking which human trait he would most like to change.

“The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all,” Hawking answered her, according to the Independent. "A major nuclear war would be the end of civilization, and maybe the end of the human race,” he explained.”


Not only does human aggression no longer serve an obvious purpose, but technological advances, such as nuclear weaponry, have made it so that an incredible amount of damage could be done with very little effort by a small number of people. Hawking isn’t the only prominent scientist to have made this observation; Carl Sagan was outspoken against the development of nuclear arms during his life.

Uyanwah also asked the physicist which human traits he would like to see more often. Unsurprisingly, he commented that he would like to see more kindness and understanding.

“The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy. It brings us together in a peaceful, loving state,” he replied.

Hawking then went on to discuss the immense importance of continued space exploration to the longevity of the human race. Again, echoing the sentiments of Sagan and others, Hawking spoke of extending the physical presence of humanity beyond the reaches of our own planet or even our own moon. 


"Sending humans to the moon changed the future of the human race in ways that we don't yet understand. It hasn't solved any of our immediate problems on planet Earth, but it has given us new perspectives on them and caused us to look both outward and inward,” Hawking explained. "I believe that the long term future of the human race must be space and that it represents an important life insurance for our future survival, as it could prevent the disappearance of humanity by colonizing other planets."

Uyanwah conveyed how much she enjoyed her time with Hawking on Twitter, referring to him as a “legend” and an “inspiration.” Hawking also discussed the then-impending Academy Awards, praising Redmayne’s portrayal of him, but quipped, “Unfortunately Eddie did not inherit my good looks.”

Talking to #StephenHawking was truly inspirational and he has such an awesome sense of humour!

— Londons Guest (@LondonGuest) February 20, 2015


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