Science Space 12 Life Lessons From the Mind of Stephen Hawking By Melissa Breyer Editorial Director Hunter College F.I.T., State University of New York Cornell University Melissa Breyer is Treehugger’s editorial director. She is a sustainability expert and author whose work has been published by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. our editorial process Melissa Breyer Updated October 11, 2018 ©. Lwp Kommunikáció/Flickr Share Twitter Pinterest Email Science Space Natural Science Technology Agriculture Energy Not only did he have a startlingly brilliant brain for physics, but Stephen Hawking had a pretty good knack for life as well. With news that renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76, it feels like there’s a big (black) hole in the world. Given only a few years to live when, at the age of 21, he was diagnosed with early-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Hawking went on to defy the odds in any number of areas. Not only was his work with black holes and relativity brilliant, but he was a master at explaining it all in ways that the rest of our humble brains could grasp and admire. But aside from all that smart cosmology stuff, Stephen Hawking had a sharp wit and a great take on life, as evidenced in small part by the following quotes. 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. Life would be tragic if it weren't funny.The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge. I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.If you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.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.It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.People won't have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.People who boast about their IQ are losers.We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet.Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.While there’s life, there is hope. As Hawking told NASA Space Station astronauts in 2014, we wish the same for him: "May you keep flying like superman in microgravity."