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Crucial Update

Stephen Hawking Posits that One Direction Remains Whole in a Parallel Universe

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Stephen Hawking patched up some broken hearts using the restorative promise of theoretical physics this weekend. During an appearance via hologram at the Sydney Opera House (as a 73-year-old astrophysicist of international acclaim do), a member of the audience asked what was "the cosmological effect" of Zayn Malik, former boy band member with really, really nice eyes, leaving One Direction.

Hawking responded hilariously, perfectly, scientifically provocatively:

Finally, a question about something important. My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay attention to the study of theoretical physics because, one day, there may well be proof of multiple universes. It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another, different universe and, in that universe, Zayn is still in One Direction.

Let's go to that one. Let's go live in that universe.

The spread of this particular quote is a testament to a primary point in Hawking's lecture: That contemporary society, and especially popular culture, is generally "ambivalent" toward science. He suggested the movie based on his marriage to Jane Wilde, The Theory of Everything, for example, would have benefited from "more physics and fewer feelings."

Hawking continued, "We have come to expect a steady increase in standard of living that science and technology have brought. But people distrust science because they don’t understand it or feel they can control it. [....] The popularity of science fiction like Star Trek is because this is a form of science with which people feel safe, but an understanding of science fact would allay their fears…much better."

Hawking ended his digital appearance with the appropriate Star Trek sign-off, "Now beam me up, Scotty!"