Stephen Hawking has said he would consider ending his own life if he became a burden to others or if he had “nothing more to contribute”.

But the physicist and cosmologist told a forthcoming BBC programme he knows he has much more scientific work to do, despite his advanced motor neurone disease.

“To keep someone alive against their wishes is the ultimate indignity,” Hawking, 73, told his interviewer, the comedian Dara O’Briain. “I would consider assisted suicide only if I were in great pain or felt I had nothing more to contribute but was just a burden to those around me.”

O’Briain, who himself has a degree in theoretical physics, said Hawking would give “impressively honest answers” in the programme, according to the Telegraph.

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