Stephen Hawking was one of the greatest minds of the 21st century. His final words must have been as profound as his entire life.
Stephen Hawking’s last words aren’t known. The final sentence in his last ever book was “Unleash your imagination. Shape the future.” These were the final sentences in his book Brief Answers to Big Questions. The last words of his final public appearance were “My motto is there are no boundaries.”
You can learn more below about his final thoughts on the universe, what he did during his last weeks alive, and his death.
Stephen Hawking’s Final Thoughts on the Universe
When Stephen Hawking passed away his final words weren’t as final as, say, “Rosebud” from the 1941 film, Citizen Kane. No one knows what the actual last thing was that he communicated to anyone. In all likelihood, it was a goodbye to his beloved family.
So it has left many to speculate what he said, however, we will probably never know. As for his final words and thoughts to the general public, those are a lot more accessible.
His final book was published posthumously on October 16, 2018. It was titled Brief Answers to Big Questions. The entire book is a collection of different speeches and papers that the physicist had made over the years. Each piece was selected by Hawking.
Unfortunately, the manuscript was not completed before his death so his colleagues, friends, and family all worked to finish it. The novel covers the questions that he was most frequently asked throughout his career.
The last question answered was “How do we shape the future?” His essay response was that humans need to focus on global warming, expansion of resources into space, mass extinction of other animals, developing renewable energy sources, epidemic diseases, deforestation, and the dying ocean to create a better future.
His final words of this essay were that the answer to shaping the future was “Unleash your imagination. Shape the future.”
In Brief Answers to Big Questions, the first question Hawking answered was “Is there a God?” He concluded that there is no God and that there is probably no afterlife, no Heaven, and no Hell.
When Hawking passed away, he believed that his brain would just shut down similar to a computer turning off and that would be it.
Other questions he answered in the book were “Can we predict the future?”, “Is time travel possible?”, and “Will we survive on Earth?” All of his selected essays give us an in-depth look into what Hawking was thinking about in the final weeks and months before he died.
You can watch Stephen Hawking’s final public speech in the below YouTube video.
Hawking’s Final Weeks
In the final months and weeks leading up to his death, Stephen Hawking wasn’t just working on the manuscript for his book Brief Answers to Big Questions, he was also still working on his lifelong research of black holes.
Only days before he passed away, Hawking was still working on his final research paper titled “Black Hole Entropy and Soft Hair.” The paper, as CNN reported, describes that “Hawking and his collaborators sought to explain what happens to the information contained in particles that are pulled into a black hole if that black hole then ceases to exist.”
This paper was peer-reviewed after Hawking’s death and then published on October 11, 2018.
There was one other Hawking research paper co-authored by Thomas Hertog that was published posthumously. It was submitted 10 days before Hawking’s death. This paper was titled “A smooth exit from eternal inflation?” and published in the Journal of High Energy Physics.
Stephen Hawking’s Death
It was on March 14, 2018, that Stephen Hawking passed away peacefully finally succumbing to the ALS that he had suffered from for over 50 years. His body was cremated and the ashes were placed between those of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin in Westminster Abbey’s nave.
On his memorial stone, Stephen Hawking instructed that it read “Here lies what was mortal…” which is the English translation of the Latin words on Sir Isaac Newton’s memorial stone. He had also instructed that his most famous equation, the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy equation, be inscribed on the stone as well as his epitaph.
Stephen Hawking was a true genius who came into this world on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death and left it on Albert Einstein’s birthday.