Stephen Hawking Quote about ALS
Stephen Hawking is likely the most well-known theoretical physicist. He is also likely the most well-known person living with ALS. Hawking has a rare slow-progressing form of ALS that has gradually left him paralyzed. He communicates using a single cheek muscle attached to a speech-generating device. In this ALS quote, Stephen Hawking discusses the disease.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
In the book “Handicapped People and Science,” Hawking is quoted as saying, “If you are disabled, it is probably not your fault, but it is no good blaming the world or expecting it to take pity on you. One has to have a positive attitude and must make the best of the situation that one finds oneself in; if one is physically disabled, one cannot afford to be psychologically disabled as well.
In my opinion, one should concentrate on activities in which one’s physical disability will not present a serious handicap. I am afraid that Olympic Games for the disabled do not appeal to me, but it is easy for me to say that because I never liked athletics anyway.
On the other hand, science is a very good area for disabled people because it goes on mainly in the mind. Of course, most kinds of experimental work are probably ruled out for most such people, but theoretical work is almost ideal. My disabilities have not been a significant handicap in my field, which is theoretical physics. Indeed, they have helped me in a way by shielding me from lecturing and administrative work that I would otherwise have been involved in. I have managed, however, only because of the large amount of help I have received from my wife, children, colleagues and students. I find that people in general are very ready to help, but you should encourage them to feel that their efforts to aid you are worthwhile by doing as well as you possibly can.”