Stephen Hawking says he is unable to explain popularity of 'demagogue' Donald Trump


Stephen Hawking has said the popularity of "demagogue" Donald Trump is beyond even his understanding.

The world-famous theoretical physicist has made no secret of his disdain for the likely Republican Party presidential nominee - previously joking about his intelligence.

Asked if his knowledge of the universe meant he could explain the popular appeal of the billionaire tycoon, he told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "I can't.

"He is a demagogue, who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator."

 Donald Trump.
Donald Trump (Chris Carlson/AP)

Professor Hawking also renewed his appeal to British voters to back remaining in the EU for the sake of science, as well as for economic and security reasons.

"Gone are the days we could stand on our own, against the world. We need to be part of a larger group of nations, both for our security, and our trade," he said.

"The possibility of our leaving the EU has already led to a sharp fall in the pound, because the markets judge that it will damage our economy."

Stephen Hawking.
Stephen Hawking (AP)

He went on: "There are two obvious reasons why we should stay in. The first is that it promotes the mobility of people. Students can come here from EU countries to study, and our students can go to other EU universities.

"More importantly, at the level of research, the exchange of people enables skills to transfer more quickly, and brings new people with different ideas, derived from their different backgrounds.

"The other reason is financial. The European Research Council has given large grants to UK institutions, either to foster research or to promote exchanges."