I have led an extraordinary life on this planet, while at the same time travelling across the universe by using my mind and the laws of physics. I have been to the furthest reaches of our galaxy, travelled into a black hole and gone back to the beginning of time.
On Earth, I have experienced highs and lows, turbulence and peace, success and suffering. I have been rich and poor, I have been able-bodied and disabled. I have been praised and criticised, but never ignored. I have been enormously privileged, through my work, in being able to contribute to our understanding of the universe. But it would be an empty universe indeed if it were not for the people I love, and who love me. Without them, the wonder of it all would be lost on me.
And at the end of all this, the fact that we humans, who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature, have been able to come to an understanding of the laws governing us, and our universe, is a great triumph. I want to share my excitement about these big questions and my enthusiasm about this quest.
Let us fight for every woman and every man to have the opportunity to live healthy, secure lives, full of opportunity and love. We are all time travellers, journeying together into the future. But let us work together to make that future a place we want to visit.
Be brave, be curious, be determined, overcome the odds. It can be done.