Stephen Hawking, the leading British physicist and cosmologist, has said he no longer feels welcome in the US under Donald Trump.
Prof. Hawking is a recipient of the prestigious US Franklin medal for science and received the presidential medal of freedom from Barack Obama in 2009. Now he has spoken out about his fears for the country's "definite swing to a rightwing, more authoritarian approach."
"I would like to visit again and to talk to other scientists, but I fear that I may not be welcome," he said in an interview with Good Morning Britain on Monday.
The 75-year-old Cambridge scientist said he was particularly concerned about Trump's environment policy.
"He should replace Scott Pruitt at the Environment Protection Agency," he said. "Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it's one we can prevent. It affects America badly, so tackling it should win votes for his second term. God forbid."
Hawking has previously described Trump as a demagogue.
"Trump was elected by people who felt disenfranchised by the governing elite in a revolt against globalization," he told ITV1's breakfast program. "His priority will be to satisfy his electorate, who are neither liberal nor that well informed."
Hawking said, however, that he saw signs of hope for the world in the rise of women to powerful positions in public life, and he revealed his excitement at the possibility of sending tiny robots into space to investigate earth-like planets trillions of miles away.
Asked about the ascent of Theresa May, Nicola Sturgeon and Cressida Dick, the new Met police commissioner, he said: "If we factor in high-powered women in Europe as well, such as Angela Merkel, it seems we are witnessing a seismic shift for women to accede to high-level positions in politics and society.
"But there may still be a gap between those women achieving high public status and those in the private sector. I welcome these signs of women's liberation."
When asked whether he thought the NASA space program should be restarted following the discovery of new planets, Hawking said: "The recently discovered system of seven Earth-sized planets is 39 light years away. With current technology there is no way we can travel that far.
"The best we can envisage is robotic nanocraft pushed by giant lasers to 20% of the speed of light. These nanocraft weigh a few grams and would take about 240 years to reach their destination and send pictures back. It is feasible and is something that I am very excited about."
On British politics, Hawking said he felt a "hard Brexit" should be resisted, with the UK retaining strong links with the EU and China. He also said that Labour, which he backed at the 2015 general election, would not win the next election under Jeremy Corbyn.
"He doesn't come across as a strong leader, and he allowed the media to portray him as a leftwing extremist, which he's not," he said. "It's no good having the right principles if you never get in power."
© 2017 Guardian under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 2:26pm PT
Was Hawking ever a guest of Jeffery Epstein at his private Island?
Super clueless and i like:
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 1:35pm PT
I wish Hawking and his backers huge success. But,I think it is a waste of money to spray the universe with nanomites hoping to learn anything other then where dark matter "may" be not to mention how many are going to get wiped out by the tiniest of debris at that size and speed. That is an experiment with no "immediate" gain and almost negliable current benefit to humanities current problems. And about AI. Hawking sure talks a lot about something he neither designs, builds, or creates. Fairly, equally, the man should have built a better wheelchair for himself if he is so well versed in AI. If you were Stephen Hawking "the smartest man" on the planet with billionaire backers, wouldn't you have a wheelchair that at least could make milkshakes?
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 1:10pm PT
macssme -- 240 years is probably correct. The planets are 40 Light years away, the lasers would push the nano ships at 20% lightspeed which means it would take 5 times longer than light ie 200 years, then it would take 40 years to beam images back at the speed of light hence..240 Years.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 12:47pm PT
Hawking does not feel welcome in the US because Trump and his supporters have assailed science and academia as elitist and cut funding for important research and institutions.
Like Pascal's Wager, even if climate change is not real, what harm would be done by modifying our societies and lifestyle as if it were so?
Those entrenched in the petroleum industry will claim it costs jobs, but a slow transition can be made without displacing people if the government actually worked together on something and stopped taking bribes from lobbyists.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 12:42pm PT
Would not mind women taking over more world affairs. They can't possibly make a worse mess of things than men.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 12:33pm PT
Why can't people see that that Steven Hawking is right to show his opinion. Just because other people don't share the same idea doesn't mean that Steven Hawking is wrong.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 12:30pm PT
Hawking... smart guy but an obvious globalist shill.
And just another irrational NeverTrumper.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 12:21pm PT
Glad that dude isn't American. We have enough whack jobs already. No one gives a damn what he says.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 11:43am PT
R. T. -- The irony of your post even goes over your own head.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 11:31am PT
Correction: Should read 24 years, not 240 years.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 11:26am PT
You would think a renowned scientist would be a little more scientific in his comment. What in Trump's agenda or comments could possibly make him personally feel unwelcome in the US? Ridiculous.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 11:19am PT
The so-called "Smartest Man in the World" has no clue. He is not even insightful enough to believe in God, the creator of all things.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 11:04am PT
Catfish vs Hawking . . . obviously "Catfish" is the wiser.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 10:56am PT
The smartest man alive thinks our president is an idiot.
This bears repeating. The smartest man alive thinks our president is an idiot.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 10:51am PT
$20 trillion in debt. Wake up, people.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 10:47am PT
Liberalism . . . ideas so great . . . they are mandatory!
Joseph R. Longoria:
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 10:46am PT
I'm American and I don't feel welcome here. It's sad to see how racism and discrimination has reared its ugly head since Trump announced his intent to run. We have come so far but have so far to go.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 10:44am PT
Only a "not well-informed deplorable" would say the world is worse off now. Not by any fact or measure.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 10:38am PT
I don't often read here but this report is important -- always interested in what Hawking has to say. Thanks.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 10:32am PT
"It's no good having the right principles if you never get in power." Sadly this is how the majority of people think.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 10:27am PT
One thing I know is never disagree with a scientist's words.
Posted: 2017-03-20 @ 10:15am PT
"His priority will be to satisfy his electorate, who are neither liberal nor that well informed."
Understandable, seeing just how great the world is now after years of direction from the liberal and the "well informed." Ivy League = Wisdom. Snowflakes do not like to face the truth.