Stephen Hawking Talks Health Care, ALS, and Life

Physicist offers advice for living with disability
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2011 9:54 AM CDT
Stephen Hawking Talks Health Care, ALS, and Life
Stephen Hawking speaks via satellite during the Science Channel portion of the 2010 Television Critics Association Press Tour at the Langham Hotel on January 14, 2010 in Pasadena, California.   (Getty Images)

When you can only speak by twitching your cheek toward words flitting past your screen, you don’t tend to do a lot of interviews. But Stephen Hawking sat down with the New York Times last month to talk about his life, aliens, and health care. Some highlights:

  • On aliens: Contacting aliens is asking for trouble; they might be so advanced “that our civilization might not survive the experience.” But if they make first contact, it’s a different story. “I have no doubt that if we are ever contacted by such beings, we would want to respond.”

  • On people who say he’s doing too well to really have ALS: “Maybe I don’t have the most common kind of motor neuron disease, which usually kills in two or three years. It has certainly helped that I have a job and that I have been looked after so well.”
  • On living with ALS: “My advice to disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with.”
  • On health care reform: Hawking jumped into the debate in 2009 after an Investors Business Daily editorial said Britain’s system would have killed Hawking. “I felt compelled to make a statement to explain the error. I am British … and the National Health Service has taken great care of me,” he says. “I believe in universal health care. I am not afraid to say so.”
(More Stephen Hawking stories.)

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