Stephen Hawking lashes 'authoritarian' Trump, plans space trip

World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has spoken on the effect Donald Trump's presidency has had on the US - and has opened up on his plans for space travel.

Speaking to Piers Morgan from Good Morning Britain, Prof Hawking said Mr Trump was elected by people who were "neither liberal, nor that well-informed" and feared globalisation - but said the reaction to him being elected "may have been overdone".

"It represents a definite swing to a right-wing authoritarian approach," he said.

"Everyday life in the United States continues much the same. I have many friends and colleagues there, and it is still a place I like and admire in many ways - but I fear that I might not be welcome," he said.

Morgan, who is a long-time friend of Mr Trump's, also took the opportunity to ask the cosmologist what message he would like to pass on to the President.

"He should replace [climate change denier] Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency," Hawking said.

"Climate change is one of the great dangers we face and its one we can prevent. It affects America badly, so tackling it should win votes for his second term - God forbid."

Prof Hawking also took shots at Mr Trump's travel ban, calling it "inefficient" and saying it omits other countries that carry the same threat as the six countries on the list simply because they are US allies. He says this is another example of the President's efforts to "appease his electorate".

Later in the interview, Prof Hawking said while he wasn't sure whether the meaning of life was happiness, he was still pursuing that for himself - and says the thing that would provide him with the most joy would be space travel.

"I have already completed a zero-gravity flight which allowed me to float weightless, but my ultimate ambition is to fly into space," Prof Hawking said.

"I thought no one would take me, but Richard Branson has offered me a seat on Virgin Galactic and I said yes immediately. Since that day I have never changed my mind."

Morgan told Prof Hawking that many people believed he was the most intelligent person in the world - and to that, the 75-year-old had a simple answer.

"I would never claim this. People who boast about their IQ are losers."

The interview was ended with the age-old question: "If you were forced to live on a desert island with three other people for the rest of your life, who would you choose to be with?"

Prof Hawking's answer? "Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein and Galileo."