On what I miss most
I would like to be able to swim again. When my children were young, I missed not being able to play with them physically.
On cheating death
Obviously I’m not a typical case, or I would have died half a century ago. I think my survival against the odds must have something to do with my commitment to science. I’m damned if I’m going to die before I have unravelled more about the universe.
The Theory of Everything
I was rather surprised that a major film company should want to make a film about me. At first I was worried because it was based on a book by my ex-wife, Jane. But I was reassured when I read the script and even more when I saw a first cut of the film. It was surprisingly honest about our marriage and my fight with ALS, or motor neurone disease. The one regret I have is that it doesn’t contain more physics, but I suppose that was inevitable in a film for a general audience.
On Eddie Redmayne
I thought Eddie Redmayne portrayed me very well. At times, I thought he was me. It is perhaps the closest I will come to time travel.
Motor neurone disease doesn’t cause [me] pain but sometimes I get uncomfortable because I can’t adjust my position.
On assisted suicide
To keep someone alive against their wishes is the ultimate indignity. I would consider assisted suicide only if I were in great pain or felt I had nothing more to contribute, but was just a burden to those around me.
At times I get very lonely because people are afraid to talk to me or don’t wait for me to write a response. I am shy and tongue-tied at times. I find it difficult to talk to people I don’t know.
Women are a mystery to me. That’s the fun.
And a unified theory of everything
I think we will eventually discover a unified theory, though it may well take longer than the 20 years I predicted, 45 years ago.
Not living to see proof of my theories
I am resigned to the fact that I won’t see proof of Hawking radiation (radiation emitted from black holes) directly. I am now studying whether one might detect Hawking radiation in primordial gravitational waves, so I might get a Nobel Prize after all.
On using black holes for time travel
If you jumped in a black hole you will meet an unpleasant fate. It will be little consolation that your mass energy will be recycled as Hawking radiation.
Dara O Briain Meets Stephen Hawking Tuesday 10.35pm BBC1 (11.05pm N Ireland, Wales, 11.35pm Scotland)