Stephen Hawking admits he 'can't explain' Trump popularity

Stephen Hawking has admitted the popularity of US presidential candidate Donald Trump is beyond even his understanding.

On previous occasions, the world-famous theorist has made no secret of his disdain for the likely Republican Party presidential nominee.

But 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".

Trump looks likely to go head-to-head with Hillary Clinton in the presidential race Credit: Reuters

Meanwhile, the A Brief History of Time author claimed Britain needed to stay in the European Union to protect its scientific research being undermined by Government austerity cuts.

Professor Hawking also warned that Britain would become "culturally isolated and insular" if Brexit limited the scope for foreign exchanges.

The scientists said the mobility of people and grants given by the European Research Council to UK institutions were important reasons for Britons to vote to remain in the bloc on June 23.