NEW YORK: The famed British astrophysicist and best-selling author has turned to Yahoo Answers, a new feature in which anyone can pose a question for fellow Internet users to try to answer.
The question posed by Hawking is: ''In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?''
Some of the answers were short and others vague.
A number of people suggested thinking differently, ending bickering or fostering cooperation.
Officials at the University of Cambridge, where Hawking is a mathematics professor, confirmed that Hawking wrote the message but said he would have no further comment.
Hawking's groundbreaking research on black holes and the origins of the universe has made him one of the best-known theoretical physicists of his generation. Author of the global best seller A Brief History of Time, Hawking is known for proposing that space and time have no beginning and no end.
Lately, he has been pondering about the fate of humans.
In a June 13 speech in Hong Kong, Hawking mentioned that the
survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy Earth.
He said that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.
Hawking is one of 10 celebrity questioners Yahoo solicited as part of its "Ask The Planet" campaign.
Yahoo spent weeks trying to track Hawking down but got his participation within a day of reaching the correct assistant, said Patrick Crane, vice president of marketing for Yahoo Search.
The question was submitted a few days before the Hong Kong speech and posted last Wednesday.
Over the next week, Yahoo employees are expected to work with Hawking to sift through the answers and select one or several to highlight as best responses.
Hawking has contemplated the mind of God, wrestled with the fabric of space-time and cast light on black holes. But for answers to the latest big question, Stephen Hawking has gone to the internet.
Chicagoan86 was more upbeat than most, writing: "Don't worry! When things get really bad the rapture will happen. Then the apocalypse. Then moving into space and stuff won't really matter, because all the sinners will be dead."
Model_Lynn706 thought the key to survival was closer to home: "They will live underwater," while BlackAdder_MB had faith in basic biology: "Procreation seems the obvious route."