Professor Stephen Hawking.

Stephen Hawking, who died on Wednesday morning aged 76, contributed so much to our understanding of the universe that it's hard to sum up in just a few hundred words.

So Business Insider has pulled together its most popular, and important, articles on Hawking into this can't-miss list which covers everything from aliens and boy bands, to the biggest mystery of the universe.

On the existence of aliens

Finding aliens could be 'the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity'. Hawking was spearheading the Breakthrough Listen project to scan a million stars for signs of life; however, he warned should signs of life be found, "we should be wary of answering back."

On popular culture

Stephen Hawking gave a priceless gift to filmmakers of the Oscar-winning movie about his life"I'll let you know what I think — good or otherwise," Hawking told Eddie Redmayne, the actor who played him in "The Theory of Everything" in 2014.

Stephen Hawking jokes about his theory of boy bands, saying in a different universe it's possible 'Zayn is still in One Direction'. "Finally, a question about something important," Hawking, who was attending an event as a hologram, joked when asked about the band.

On the future of mankind

Stephen Hawking: Humans have only about 1,000 years left. Hawking made the prediction during a 2016 speech and believed our only option was to find another planet to live on.

4 ways that Stephen Hawking thinks the world could end. Advances in science and technology mean disaster on Earth is a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years, Hawking said.

On politics

Trump 'is a demagogue'. When asked to explain the popularity of US President Donald Trump he simply said: "I can't."

On artificial intelligence

Automation and AI is going to decimate middle class jobs. Hawking felt that AI could exacerbate issues around the loss of traditional manufacturing jobs.

Stephen Hawking: We need a 'world government' to stop the rise of dangerous artificial intelligence. But the scientist also admitted such a feat could cause tyranny.

On the universe

Escape from a black hole is possible — kind of"If you feel you are trapped in a black hole, don't give up. There is a way out," Hawking advised.

Stephen Hawking's Cambridge PhD thesis has been published online for the first time. Last year, the University of Cambridge posted online the then-24 year old's thesis on the expanding universe. The document is complete with hand-written equations and Hawking's signature.

On the biggest mystery of all

Stephen Hawking is a theoretical physics genius, but the mystery he finds most intriguing is women. "My PA reminds me that although I have a PhD in physics, women... remain a mystery," Hawking once said in a Reddit AMA.

Receive a single WhatsApp message every morning with all our latest news. Sign up here.

See also: