Stephen Hawking: How he made his mark on popular culture
He was an intellectual giant, but Professor Stephen Hawking also embraced popular culture.
The celebrated physicist featured in cartoon The Simpsons and enjoyed a cameo in several episodes of The Big Bang Theory, the hit US sitcom about a group of science geeks.
In The Simpsons, a cartoon version of the professor, complete with voice generator, appeared in Springfield many times.
In the episode They Saved Lisa’s Brain, in which he appears with his flying wheelchair, Prof Hawking says: “Your theory of a doughnut shaped universe is intriguing Homer. I may have to steal it.”
He was so proud of his appearance in The Simpsons, which he called “the best thing on American television”, that he had a clock depicting Homer on a wall in his office.
Prof Hawking also displayed in his office a mocked-up photograph of himself going on a date with screen siren Marilyn Monroe.
The world-renowned British physicist was booked to perform at Glastonbury, but had to pull out in 2015 for “personal reasons”.
He also featured, in 1993, in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
His character was seen playing poker with Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.
“The uncertainty principle will not help you now Stephen,” Einstein tells him.
He also appeared in Futurama, the other cartoon by Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening, in which he takes the credit for inventing gravity.
Eddie Redmayne played Professor Hawking in the film The Theory Of Everything, winning an Oscar for the role, portraying the scientist as a young man.
“He has a real force of charisma and humour and incisive wit and a sense of mischief”, Redmayne said of Prof Hawking.
Benedict Cumberbatch previously played Prof Hawking in TV film Hawking in 2004, for which he was Bafta nominated for best actor.
When Ant and Dec sparked controversy when they appeared to mock him in an I’m A Celebrity skit – it later emerged that the professor had taken time out of his busy schedule to contact the presenters to say he had found it funny.
And it was not just on screen that he influenced popular culture.
Prof Hawking’s voice was also sampled by Pink Floyd – from a BT advert.