Stephen Hawking in popular culture

Stephen Hawking in popular culture

Professor Stephen Hawking has entered popular culture as a crossover figure from the academic world. He is widely known largely due to his contributions to science and endurance of severe disabilities.

Television and Film

Appeared as himself

* "The Culture Show". (Simpsons special)
* "Alien Planet". (Discovery Channel special)
* "I Love the World ". (Discovery Channel commercial)

* "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (Episode 1752). [ ['Brien/show_archive/925.shtml > Late Night with Conan O'Brien > Show Archive ] ] He was in a skit in which he made a phone call to guest Jim bob.

* "Masters of Science Fiction". A Science Fiction anthology series which is hosted by Hawking's (off screen) voice.cite web |url= |title="Masters of Science Fiction" too artistic for ABC |accessdate=2007-08-04 |last=Richmond |first=Ray]

* "Red Dwarf". Hawking appeared in a special program of the popular British science fiction series. He praised its creators for their witty use of (pseudo) scientific theories and said he enjoyed watching the show.

*"TV Offal". Hawking appeared with host Victor Lewis Smith in the pre-titles sequences of this show.

* '."'
**At the beginning of the Season 6 cliffhanger, "Descent, Part 1", Data is seen playing poker with holographic depictions of Stephen Hawking, Sir Isaac Newton, and Albert Einstein. Hawking portrayed his own hologram for this episode, making him the only person in any "Star Trek" series to play himself. When taking a tour of the set, he paused at the Warp core, smiled, and said, "I'm working on that." During the tour, Hawking requested, and was allowed, to sit in the captain's chair of the "Enterprise"-D.
**Brent Spiner ("Data") reportedly quipped, in an obviously tongue-in-cheek manner, that Hawking's cameo was "the most notable moment in television history since Albert Einstein guest-starred on "Gunsmoke". [] (Einstein was never seen on "Gunsmoke".)
**Also, in the final episode of the series, "All Good Things...", in an alternate future, Data has assumed the Lucasian professorship at Cambridge, the post that Hawking currently holds.

*"The 11th Hour". In this film about the effects of human activity on the environment Hawking gave explanations of these effects.

Appeared as himself in cartoon form

* "Dilbert". Was featured in an episode about Dilbert's project, the Gruntmaster 6000, whose "gravitron" could create a black hole to wipe out all life on Earth. In "field testing" done without consulting Dilbert, the Gruntmaster 6000 was sent to a family in Squiddler's Patch, Texas, where a family of four, living in a trailer, and rather stupid, somehow destroyed the gravitron, and created a black hole. During the episode, it is "revealed" that Hawking has the power to travel through both time and space via wormholes, and Dilbert learns the hard way that you should never bet money that a theoretical physicist can't do something.

* "Futurama". Made a guest appearance in the non-canon episode "Anthology of Interest I" as a member of the "Vice Presidential Action Rangers", who guard the space-time continuum. Along with Hawking at the end of the twentieth century they include Al Gore, Nichelle Nichols, Gary Gygax, and their summer intern Deep Blue. He first appears as a customer at the pizzeria where Fry mistakenly believes him to have invented gravity for which Hawking accepts credit. After learning of Fry's inter-dimensional experience, he arranges for him to be kidnapped by the VPAR. He also appeared in the film "The Beast with a Billion Backs" as his own head in a jar and nicknamed ' "Black Hole" Hawking' leading a scientific convention organized to study and discuss a tear in the universe, which reaches an inconclusive closing (even though Hawking wrote a book about it). Apparently he has the ability to shoot lasers that stun people from his eyes; he himself is surprised, remarking, "I didn't know I could do that" after stunning Professor Farnsworth and Professor Wernstrom. Hawking provided his "own" voice for this appearance, and is characterised the same way as in "The Simpsons".

* "The Simpsons". Made a few guest appearances on the long-running prime-time cartoon:
**In "They Saved Lisa's Brain", Hawking saves Lisa from the power-hungry Springfield chapter of Mensa in a special wheelchair, complete with an Inspector Gadget–style retractable helicopter attachment and a spring-loaded boxing glove. In the episode, Homer says to Lisa "Did you have fun with your robot buddy?". Earlier, Homer mistakenly calls Hawking Larry Flynt. Near the end, while drinking together in a bar, Hawking tells Homer "Your theory of a donut shaped universe intrigues me, Homer. I may have to steal it." When it comes time to pay for the beer Homer pretends to be him saying in his robot voice "(When asked who will pay for the beers) I am". Hawking responds with "I didn't say that." Homer says "Yes I did," and then Hawking hits him with his wheelchair's boxing glove, to which Homer says, in Hawking's voice, "D'oh!" Also in this episode, after the events involving Lisa, Homer invited Hawking to Moe's Tavern for a beer. Hawking accepts, commenting, "That's the smartest thing I've heard all day."
**In "Treehouse of Horror VI", Homer makes a reference to Stephen Hawking when he is transported to a three-dimensional zone, and moans "There's so much I don't know about astrophysics. I wish I read that book by that wheelchair guy."
**Hawking is seen in a line of people about to board a space ship to Mars in "Life's A Glitch, Then You Die", a segment of "Treehouse of Horror X", in which the Earth is doomed by the millennium bug.
**Hawking is also referenced in the episode The Great Louse Detective where Sideshow Bob is temporarily released to help Homer find a person who is trying to kill him. Homer lists Stephen Hawking as someone who would want to kill him.
**During the British Comedy Awards 2004, Hawking was presented with a one-off toy version of himself in Simpson form by Matt Groening, complete with boxing glove. Hawking presented Groening with a lifetime achievement award.
**In the Season 16 episode "Don't Fear the Roofer", he is a friend of Lenny and the owner of the Little Caesars restaurant down the block from Moe's Tavern. Prof. Hawking shows up to explain that Bart couldn't see Homer's new friend Ray (guest voice Ray Romano) during one scene because there was a black hole between the two of them, enabling Homer to prove his sanity after being institutionalized.
**In the Season 18 episode "Stop, Or My Dog Will Shoot!", Hawking is seen in a corn maze, saying that it "is too hard for me." He then flies off in the helicopter attachment.


* "Computer Stew". Hawking's image was animated and used as a character in several episodes.

* "Doctor Who". In the episode "Doomsday", Mickey Smith compares the Cybermen talking to the Daleks as "Stephen Hawking meets the speaking clock", obviously due to both the villan's voices being similar to Hawking's.

* "The Wrong Coast". A segment of the show tells about a movie called Party Time Continuum, in which Hawking is portrayed as a time-travelling party-animal played by Seth Green.

* "Weebl and Bob". In their clip Balance, Stephen Hawking flies across the screen in his buggy and the various characters play around with his speech synthesiser against his will, making it say strange things, such as "I've wet my pants".
* "User Friendly". Stephen Hawking realizes in a power blackout that all the dark matter in the universe may be grues. [ [ UserFriendly Strip Comments ] ]

* "Hawking". A partly-fictionalised 2004 biographical drama following Hawking's life as a Cambridge student, the initial onset of his motor neurone disease, and his meeting with his first wife.

* "Legally Blonde". Character "Arrogant" Aaron Mitchell, as an example of his own genius, mentions the possibility that "A Brief History of Time" may have been plagiarized from a paper he wrote as a child.

* "Superhero Movie". Hawking, played by actor Robert Joy, first appears as a judge in a science fair who offers weed to the students and later helps Dragonfly (Drake Bell).

* "Knocked Up". Jonah, while playing in a wheelchair, does an imitation of Hawking by saying (in a robot voice) "People think I'm smart because I talk in a robot voice."

* "Vicar of Dibley". In the episode 'Winter' from the Seasonal Specials, when casting for the Christmas Nativity play, Frank Pickle decided to portray his version of the Wise Man on Stephen Hawking, speaking in a voice that sounded only slightly similar to Hawking's synthesised smell

Referenced to in cartoons

* "Jimmy Neutron". Jimmy, Sheen, and Carl are in the lab, and Sheen asks what guy Jimmy is going to be for halloween. Sheen goes through a series of famous scientists, the last one being "That smart guy in a wheelchair."

* "The Critic". Jay and his new trucker friends go to see "Ultimate Force" at a drive-in, which one of the truckers states will most definitely feature "a tough guy on wheels." The movie turns out to feature Hawking discussing his theories on relative force.

* "Dexter's Laboratory". Professor Hawke, obviously based on Hawking, plays the reclusive owner of a computer company, and the host of a contest that Deedee wins by finding a golden diskette (a la "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory").

* "Fairly Odd Parents". Hawking appeared throughout the episode "Remy Rides Again", in a mechanical flying wheelchair with a rocket on the back of it, which at the end of the episode, disappeared in a way similar to that in which the Delorean went back in time in "Back to the Future". Hawking was played by Dee Bradley Baker in this episode. Hawking was hired by Remy to prove that 2+2=5, and was also Crocker's room-mate in college. Then Crocker found out that 2+2 actually equalled 6.

* "Family Guy".
**Hawking's persona was first featured in the episode "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater"; it is a very brief cameo during the song "This House Is Freaking Sweet"; Hawking is presented as the man who will help Chris do his homework. During this time he is tapping his foot.
**A character known as "Disabled Guy" or "Paraplegic Guy" appears to be largely based on Hawking. The character made his first appearance in the episode "Ready, Willing, and Disabled", as a competitor in the Special People's Games. He appeared a second time in "Brian the Bachelor" as an applicant for a reality TV show known as "The Bachelorette".
**In the episode "Brian Goes Back to College", he is portrayed as "Steve", Brian's advanced-physics professor. This time, he is married to a fellow quadriplegic who also speaks with an electronic keyboard.

* "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy". He was mentioned in the episode " Test of Time" as Stephen Hawkwing.

* "Pinky and the Brain". In an episode in which a black hole is used as a weapon, Pinky throws it out of a hotel room window in defiance of the laws of physics. Brain notes that he must consult with Stephen Hawking.

Music and Radio

* "Weird Al" Yankovic. Weird Al's song parody "White and Nerdy" includes the line "Stephen Hawking's in my library," the music video has the singer reading "A Brief History of Time" at this line.

* Greydon Square. The atheist rapper makes several references to Hawking, most poignantly in "The Dream" expressing his dream "to be walking with Stephen Hawking along the beach talking theory".

* "Bob & Tom Show". Hawking is portrayed (and his computerised voice simulated) in a spoof of the show "I'm with Busey". At the end of the spoof, he's heard cursing his room-mate for being so stupid.

* Juno Reactor. Hawking is quoted in the track "Landing" from electronica/ambient band Juno Reactor's album "Transmissions".

* "MC Hawking". The imaginary alter-ego for the "theoretical physicist turned gangster-rapper", MC Hawking's songs parody Hawking's distinctive speech synthesiser. Song titles include "E=MC Hawking" (“I explode like a bomb/no one is spared/my power is my mass times the speed of light squared”), "Fuck the Creationists" ("Fuck the damn creationists I say it with authority/because kicking their punk asses be my paramount priority") and "Entropy" ("You down with entropy?") The success of the MC Hawking amongst internet users eventually led to a 'greatest hits' compilation CD entitled "A Brief History of Rhyme" (a play on Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" book title). Hawking himself has said that he is "flattered, as it's a modern day equivalent to Spitting Image". []

* Pink Floyd. Hawking gave his "voice" to parts of the Pink Floyd song "Keep Talking".

* Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine. Richard and Hawking sing "The Girl Is Mine" as a charming duet on the album "Aperitif for Destruction". (Celebrity voices impersonated.)

* Robin Williams, on his 2002 DVD "Robin Williams: Live on Broadway", mentioned that "I called Stephen Hawking's house once", and proceeded in a mechanical voice: "Hello this is Stephen Hawking." "Yes, I'd like to leave a message." "No. This is Stephen Hawking."

* "The Voyage". The New York City Metropolitan Opera commissioned an opera in 1992 by composer Philip Glass to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus's arrival in the New World, which featured a wheelchair-bound scientist based on Stephen Hawking. Glass also wrote the music for the documentary "A Brief History of Time".

* Turbonegro. Hawking's voice is featured on the song "Intro: The Party Zone" on Turbonegro's 2005 album Party Animals, saying "Greetings. My name is Stephen Hawking. Anyways... Please follow our denim leaders as they enter the final black hole; a new dimension in rock music. Welcome to the Party Zone."

* Lemon Demon. Lead singer Neil Cicierega sings "I'm on fire, I'm on a big train; going faster than Stephen Hawking's brain" in their song "Boat," from the album "Live From the Haunted Candle Shop." [ [ Boat - WikiLemon ] ]

* YES. The band used the lyrics "Hawking's Mind" in the song "Real Love," featured in their 1994 album, "TALK."

Books, comics and newspapers

* "Ancient Shores". In this science fiction novel, he is one of several luminaries who are heroes of climax of the novel.

*"The Coming of the Quantum Cats". Several Hawkings from different alternate universes ("in varying states of health") make a cameo appearance in this science fiction novel by Frederik Pohl. They are all involved with their particular Earth's plans to develop technology that would allow travel between alternate universes.

* '."' In this humor novel, Stephen Hawking is discussed in a lengthy comic prose about time travel and his voice machine.

*'."' Recently, the title character became a teacher at the famous School of Arcane Arts, where he teaches a class called "Secrets of Divination". At the end of his first class, he conjures up a rather large book entitled "A Brief History of Everything (Unabridged Version)" by Steven Hawkman, the required reading for his course. The name is a paper-thin allusion to Hawking himself, while the title is a slight alteration of "A Brief History of Time". []

* "Hyperion Cantos". Hawking's name appears across the trilogy under the terms such as "the Hawking drive" and the name of the Hegemony frigate "HSS Stephen Hawking".

* "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close". The main character, nine-year-old Oskar Schell, writes letters to Stephen Hawking frequently and once even receives a letter by Hawking that is addressed directly to him.

* "The Onion". Satirical newspaper ran an article claiming that Hawking had constructed himself a super-powered robotic exoskeleton, complete with a jetpack and claws that can rip through tanks. [ [ Stephen Hawking Builds Robotic Exoskeleton | The Onion - America's Finest News Source ] ] Hawking, with his typical good humour, sent them a letter cursing them for exposing his evil plans for world domination. Hawking also had a printout of the article pinned up in his Cambridge office for some time after it was published.

*Ultimate X-Men-- In Ultimate X-Men #25, there is a reference to Stephen Hawking having written an article on mutants, apparently stating that they were mankind's last hope against the rise of artificial intelligence. This makes him one of the rare humans who sympathize with mutants. In addition, the Earth 616 continuity has stated or hinted more than once that Hawking and Hank McCoy (the Beast) are close friends.

*Bloom County--In the comic strip, Hawking was said to have had a rivalry with the strip's resident boy scientist, Oliver Wendell Jones.

*Batman-- Batman manages to defeat the supervillain Prometheus by replacing the martial arts skills Prometheus had downloaded into his mind with the physical skills and coordination of Hawking. Batman later commented that this was the "first time [he] ever hit a man with motor neuron disease".

Other media

* "Shin Megami Tensei". In this videogame and its sequel, there is a wheelchair-bound character who is obviously based on Stephen Hawking, named Steven.
* "Chapman Brothers". The British artists produced a sculpture entitled "Übermensch" depicting Hawking in his wheelchair on top of a rocky outcrop.
* '."' In this video game, the character Jody often talks about Stephen Hawking, and loves to read his books. Also, an obtainable item in the game is a Science Book, whose description reads: "A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking"
* "Phil Hansen". In Phil Hansen's breakout art piece Influential, Steven Hawking was referenced in 5 of the layers of influence, with one clearly being of Hawking himself. "He affected my outlook on life. He made me think about what life is and what I should do with it."
* "Mass Effect". In the video game, there is a nebula called "Hawking Eta", most likely name after Stephen Hawking
* "Jimmy Carr - Stand up". Jimmy Carr Claims to have written a letter to him from his (fictional) 9 year old son.


External links

*imdb name|0370071|Stephen Hawking

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