Hawking, 70: 'Glorious time to be alive'

Jan. 9, 2012 at 8:17 AM
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CAMBRIDGE, England, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- British physicist Stephen Hawking said he was not well enough to attend his 70th birthday celebration and made a recorded speech instead.

Hawking was forced to cancel his appearance Sunday after failing to recover from an infection.

His pre-recorded speech reflected on his life. Hawking called it a "glorious time to be alive" and said he was happy to have made a "small contribution" to our understanding of the universe," The Daily Telegraph reported.

Hawking, director of research at the Institute for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge, was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 1963 and given two years to live. He has survived and flourished in his career, going on to become Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, a post first held by Isaac Newton in 1663.

"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," Hawking said in his speech. "Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up."

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