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Stephen Hawking: Most Memorable Quotes

The groundbreaking physicist, who died at 76, left behind a world of wisdom

Physicist Stephen Hawking died Wednesday at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 76. A best-selling author known for such books as "A Brief History of Time," Hawking's work ranged across the nature of space, time travel, quantum theory, and black holes, and pondered such matters as the origins of the universe. Equally remarkable was that Hawking was able to achieve so much after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a debilitating motor neuron disease, at the age of 21. He surprised doctors by living with the disease for over half a century. Hawking was known for his expansive perspective, but also his sharp wit, big heart, and zingy one-liners. Here, some of his most memorable quotes.

"My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all." Bryn Colton "My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all." "Quiet people have the loudest minds." Douglas Kirkland/Corbis via Getty Images "Quiet people have the loudest minds." "Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious." Jemal Countess/Getty Images "Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious." “People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.” Boston Globe via Getty Images “People who boast about their I.Q. are losers.” "My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus." David Montgomery/Getty Images "My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus." "The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognised. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away." Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images "The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognised. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away." "However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up." PA Images via Getty Images "However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up." "It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love." LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images "It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love." “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny." WPA Pool/Getty Images “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny." “Black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole, both to the outside, and possibly, to another universe. So, if you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up. There’s a way out.” MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images “Black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole, both to the outside, and possibly, to another universe. So, if you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up. There’s a way out.” "Primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare. Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth.” Jemal Countess/Getty Images "Primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare. Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth.” “If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?” Jemal Countess/Getty Images “If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?” “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” AFP/Getty Images “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” professor stephen hawking british theoretical physicist photographed picture Eleanor Bentall/Corbis via Getty Images

"I am just a child who has never grown up. I still keep asking these ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. Occasionally, I find an answer."

professor stephen hawking attends the new space exploration at picture Jemal Countess/Getty Images

"We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it."

general view of the screen showing physicist stephen hawking during picture Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the universe. That makes us something very special."

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn't exist. Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist." Findlay Kember/AFP/Getty Images “One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn't exist. Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist."