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"I'm working on that."—Stephen Hawking, on seeing the warp core when touring the Star Trek: The Next Generation set.
Stephen Hawking (January 8, 1942 - March 14, 2018, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA), was a theoretical astrophysicist. In his time he had done world-recognized work on black holes, theoretical cosmology, and quantum gravity. The ability to do most of this work entirely in his head has led him to be generally recognized as the most brilliant scientist since Albert Einstein. The reason this was necessary was due to his having what is thought to be ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), or Lou Gehrig's disease, a degenerative neural disorder that left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, "speaking" through a specially-designed computer (the voice of which is also very well-known). (He was also rather famous for his affliction, as well: it may have been the most protracted case of ALS ever recorded as it hadn't progressed the way ALS normally does, which has stymied a definitive diagnosis.)
Hawking was also quite famous for his sense of humor. He appeared several times on The Simpsons, Futurama and The Big Bang Theory As Himself, each time bordering on the line of Adam Westing. Expys of him have appeared in form (Family Guy) and in Charlie and the Chocolate Parody form (Dexter's Laboratory). He appeared as a character, but not on camera (perhaps he couldn't make the shoot fit his schedule, or just didn't like the show), in an episode of Stargate Atlantis. Finally, he was the only person to appear in any Star Trek series As Himself (obviously, as a holodeck recreation of himself). Hawking was also known to be a fan of Red Dwarf.
Hawking was at one point offered a knighthood, but turned it down in protest of the state of science education in Britain.
He's got 12 inch rims on his chair, that's how he rolls, y'all. No, he actually does. You thought they were joking?
Stephen Hawking provides examples of:
- And I Must Scream: Subverted hard. Even though Lou Gehrig's disease is this played straight, just by having enough sight, hearing and enough eye movement to control his computer (which does the communicating for him) he was still able to live an active scientifically-contributing life to the world at large. Those thought experiments with scientific theories also staved off the boredom that comes with ordinary And I Must Scream.
- Badass Boast: Upon seeing the Warp-Core during his tour of the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation;
Hawking: I'm working on that...
- Deadpan Snarker
- Determinator: At 21, he was told he had (at most) a year left to live. Ordinary people would consider suicide when diagnosed with an And I Must Scream-causing disease that cannot be cured. Even at the age of seventy, he maintained a positive attitude. Hawking died at age 76.
- Genius Cripple: The Trope Codifier for modern portrayals and interpretations of this trope.
- Machine Monotone
- Nerd Glasses
- Not So Above It All: He was one of the greatest geniuses of our time since Albert Einstein, yet managed to display quite a sense of humor.
- One of Us: A huge fan of Star Trek, The Simpsons and Red Dwarf, the former two of which he appeared in as himself.