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Big Bang Didn't Need God, Stephen Hawking tells Caltech; Physicist Says Mankind Has To Leave Earth To Survive

By Staff Writer | April 17, 2013 05:35 PM EDT

Stephen Hawking said that the Big Bang didn't need any help from God to occur in a speech at Caltech. He asked a packed house on Tuesday, April 16th that "What was God doing before the divine creation? Was he preparing hell for people who asked such questions?"

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Hawking, cosmologist, quadriplegic writer, physicist, and possibly the Official Smartest Dude Ever, first visited the California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, in 1974; he has been a visiting professor most years since 1991. He spends a month or so annually sequestered at the institution debating the mysteries of the cosmos with colleagues, speaking, and getting the rockstar treatment from legions of adoring fanboys and fangirls.

This year's topic, "The Origin of the Universe," had students queuing up twelve hours before the lecture was to begin. Tickets were being hawked for as high as $1,000 and a Jumbotron was required so that the overflow spread out onto the lawn could watch the proceedings.

The scientist has Lou Gherigs disease, a debilitating neurological disorder - but that hasn't stopped his work. After last night's lecture, fans followed him to his car, snapping photos and asking for autographs.

Hawking opened his lecture with an African creation myth and reviewed current and historical theological and cosmological explanations of how the universe was created. He discussed relativistic physics and M-Theory, which he sees as the only explanation of what we know about the Big Bang.

At one point, Hawking joked. "I was glad not to be thrown into an inquisition," because during the 1980s, Pope John Paul II warned against studying the moment of creation, as it's considered holy by Catholics.

Hawking closed his lecture by pushing for continued exploration of space, saying "We must continue to go into space for the future of humanity," he said, adding, "I don't think we will survive another thousand years without escaping our fragile planet."

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