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The Grand Design The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking
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The Grand Design Quotes Showing 1-30 of 132
“The idea of 10 dimensions might sound exciting, but they would cause real problems if you forget where you parked your car.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“The human capacity for guilt is such that people can always find ways to blame themselves”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“Simplicity is a matter of taste”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“[...] Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“We believe human begins have existed for only a small fraction of cosmic history, because human race has been improving so rapidly in knowledge and technology that if people had been around for millions of years, the human race would be much further along in it's mastery.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“Each exists for but a short time, and in that time explore but a small part of the whole universe.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“Scientists tend to risk theories they admire”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“It is hard to imagine how free will can operate if our behavior is determined by physical law, so it seems that we are no more than biological machines and that free will is just an illusion.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“In the early universe—when the universe was small enough to be governed by both general relativity and quantum theory—there were effectively four dimensions of space and none of time. That means that when we speak of the “beginning” of the universe, we are skirting the subtle issue that as we look backward toward the very early universe, time as we know it does not exist! We must accept that our usual ideas of space and time do not apply to the very early universe. That is beyond our experience, but not beyond our imagination, or our mathematics.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“We create history by our observation, rather than history creating us.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“Both observer and observed are parts of the world that has an objective existence, and any distinction between them has no meaningful significance. In other words, if you see a herd of zebras fighting for a spot in the parking garage, it is because there really is a herd of zebras fighting for a spot in the parking garage.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“The Greeks’ Christian successors rejected the idea that the universe is governed by indifferent natural law. They also rejected the idea that humans do not hold a privileged place within that universe. And though the medieval period had no single coherent philosophical system, a common theme was that the universe is God’s dollhouse, and religion a far worthier study than the phenomena of nature. Indeed, in 1277 Bishop Tempier of Paris, acting on the instructions of Pope John XXI, published a list of 219 errors or heresies that were to be condemned. Among the heresies was the idea that nature follows laws, because this conflicts with God’s omnipotence. Interestingly, Pope John was killed by the effects of the law of gravity a few months later when the roof of his palace fell in on him.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“Recent experiments in neuroscience support the view that it is our physical brain, following the known laws of science, that determines our actions, and not some agency that exists outside those laws. For example, a study of patients undergoing awake brain surgery found that by electrically stimulating the appropriate regions of the brain, one could create in the patient the desire to move the hand, arm or foot, or to move the lips and talk. It is hard to imagine how free will can operate if our behaviour is determined by physical law, so it seems that we are no more than biological machines and that free will is just an illusion.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“Ignorance of nature’s ways led people in ancient times to invent gods to lord it over every aspect of human life.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“The human capacity for guilt is such that people can always find ways to blame themselves.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. —ALBERT EINSTEIN”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“do we really have reason to believe that an objective reality exists?”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“Quantum physics might seem to undermine the idea that nature is governed by laws, but that is not the case. Instead it leads us to accept a new form of determinism: given the state of a system at some time, the laws of nature determine the probabilities of various futures and pasts rather than determining the future and past with certainty.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“Anaximander, a friend and possibly a student of Thales, argued that since human infants are helpless at birth, if the first human had somehow appeared on earth as an infant, it would not have survived. In what may have been humanity's first inkling of evolution, people, Anaximander reasoned, must therefore have evolved from other animals whose young are hardier.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“The true miracle is that abstract considerations of logic lead to a unique theory that predicts and describes a vast universe full of the amazing variety that we see.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“So look carefully at the map of the microwave sky. It is the blueprint for all the structure in the universe. We are the product of quantum fluctuations in the very early universe. If one were religious, one could say that God really does play dice.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“Consider the apparent dimension of the universe. According to M-theory, space-time has ten space dimensions and one time dimension. The idea is that seven of the space dimensions are curled up so small that we don’t notice them, leaving us with the illusion that all that exist are the three remaining large dimensions we are familiar with.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“Quantum physics tells us that no matter how thorough our observation of the present, the (unobserved) past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.

The universe, according to quantum physics, has no single past, or history. The fact that the past takes no definite form means that observations you make on a system in the present affect its past.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“Descartes, for instance, in order to preserve the idea of free will, asserted that the human mind was something different from the physical world and did not follow its laws. In his view a person consists of two ingredients, a body and a soul. Bodies are nothing but ordinary machines, but the soul is not subject to scientific law.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“How do I know that a table still exists if I go out of the room and can’t see it? What does it mean to say that things we can’t see, such as electrons or quarks—the particles that are said to make up the proton and neutron—exist? One could have a model in which the table disappears when I leave the room and reappears in the same position when I come back, but that would be awkward, and what if something happened when I was out, like the ceiling falling in? How, under the table-disappears-when-I-leave-the-room model, could I account for the fact that the next time I enter, the table reappears broken, under the debris of the ceiling? The model in which the table stays put is much simpler and agrees with observation. That is all one can ask.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“in 1992 came the first confirmed observation of a planet orbiting a star other than our sun.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“A scientific law is not a scientific law, if it holds only when some supernatural being decides not to intervene”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“To apply quantum theory to the entire universe... is tricky... particles of matter fired at a screen with two slits in it... exhibit interference patterns just as water waves do.

Feynman showed that this arises because a particle does not have a unique history.

That is, as it moves from its starting point A to some endpoint B, it doesn’t take one definite path, but rather simultaneously takes every possible path connecting the two points.

From this point of view, interference is no surprise because, for instance, the particle can travel through both slits at the same time and interfere with itself.

In this view, the universe appeared spontaneously, starting off in every possible way.”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“But humans are a curious species. We wonder, we seek answers. Living in this vast world that is by turns kind and cruel, and gazing at the immense heavens above, people have always asked a multitude of questions: How can we understand the world in which we find ourselves? How does the universe behave? What is the nature of reality? Where did all this come from? Did the universe need a creator?”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design
“Quantum physics tells us that no matter how thorough our observation of the present, the (unobserved) past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities. The universe, according to quantum physics, has no single past, or history. The fact that the past takes no definite form means that observations you make on a system in the present affect its past. That is underlined rather dramatically by a type of experiment thought up by physicist John Wheeler, called a delayed-choice experiment. Schematically, a delayed-choice experiment is like the double-slit experiment we just described, in which you have the option of observing the path that the particle takes, except in the delayed-choice experiment you postpone your decision about whether or not to observe the path until just before the particle hits the detection screen. Delayed-choice experiments result in data identical to those we get when we choose to observe (or not observe) the which-path information by watching the slits themselves. But in this case the path each particle takes—that is, its past—is determined long after it passed through the slits and presumably had to “decide” whether to travel through just one slit, which does not produce interference, or both slits, which does. Wheeler even considered a cosmic version of the experiment, in which the particles involved are photons emitted by powerful quasars billions of light-years away. Such light could be split into two paths and refocused toward earth by the gravitational lensing of an intervening galaxy. Though the experiment is beyond the reach of current technology, if we could collect enough photons from this light, they ought to form an interference pattern. Yet if we place a device to measure which-path information shortly before detection, that pattern should disappear. The choice whether to take one or both paths in this case would have been made billions of years ago, before the earth or perhaps even our sun was formed, and yet with our observation in the laboratory we will be affecting that choice. In”
Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design

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