The political climate in the United States has Stephen Hawking, the British cosmologist many consider to be one of the smartest people alive, questioning his next trip to America, where he’s spent quite a lot of time. While his travel plans to the U.S. might be a little less certain, he says he’s more determined than ever to get to space.
In a wide-ranging interview with Piers Morgan on “Good Morning Britain,” the physicist was very critical of President Donald Trump’s appointment of Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency. As I’ve explained here at length, Pruitt made his name as Oklahoma Attorney General by suing the EPA over a dozen times and his vision for the agency’s future seems to be anathema to its stated mission.
Hawking called Pruitt ”a man who does not believe carbon dioxide causes climate change” and suggested that replacing him would be among his top priorities for the current administration.
“Climate change is one of the great dangers we face and one we can prevent,” Hawking said.
Professor Hawking also said that Trump’s supporters, a group in which Morgan has occasionally appeared to include himself, are not “that well-informed,” although he conceded that life has gone on in America.
“Everyday life in the United States continues much the same…it is still a place I like and admire in many ways, but I fear that I may not be welcome.”
The conversation ended with a non sequitur discussion of happiness and the meaning of life and Hawking revealed the travel plans that have him most excited.
“My ultimate ambition is to fly into space. I thought no one would take me, but Richard Branson has offered me a seat on Virgin Galactic and I said yes immediately.”
It’s good to feel welcome somewhere, even if it’s floating in an airless, lifeless vacuum.