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Professor Stephen Hawking, known for being a theoretical physicist, has appeared in many works of popular culture.

Television and filmEdit

Appeared as himselfEdit

  • Red Dwarf. Hawking appeared in a special programme about 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.

Played by an actor in tele series or moviesEdit

  • Stargate Atlantis. In the 5th season of Stargate Atlantis, episode 16 Brain Storm, where many world physicists were invited to a demonstration of cooling effect using a wormhole between 2 universes. Steven Hawking, played by an actor, was shown in his chair from behind.

Appeared as himself in cartoon formEdit

File:Stephen Hawking Simpsons.png
  • 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 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 ("Yeah, sure. Why not?"). 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 leading a scientific convention organized to study and discuss a tear in the universe. He says that despite writing a book about it, he has no idea what it is, although he has already cashed the check he got for writing 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 several 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 ("Larry Flynt is right! You guys stink!"). After the events involving Lisa, Homer invites Hawking to Moe's Tavern for a beer. Hawking accepts, commenting, "That's the smartest thing I've heard all day." In the 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 and Moe asks who is paying Homer pretends to be Hawking saying in his robot voice "I am". Hawking responds with "I didn't say that". Homer replies "Yes I did". At this point Hawking hits him with his wheelchair's boxing glove, to which Homer, still imiataing Hawking's voice, says "D'oh!"
    • 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 Homer and Bart, thus drawing away the light coming from Ray to render him essentially invisible to Bart, thus enabling Homer to prove his sanity after being institutionalized.
    • In the Season 18 episode "Stop, Or My Dog Will Shoot!", the family dog encounters Hawking in a corn maze while searching for a lost Homer. Hawking says "This maze is too hard for me," and then flies off in the helicopter attachment.

ReferencedEdit

  • Computer Stew. Hawking's image was animated and used as a character in several episodes.
  • 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.[4]
  • 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.
  • 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 speak 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 base his version of the Wise Man on Stephen Hawking, speaking in a voice that sounded only slightly similar to Hawking's synthesized voice.
  • Father Ted. In the episode 'Are you right there Father Ted' from the Third Season, Father Dougal mentions an occasion when Father Ted had done an impression of Stephen Hawking in a variety show only for Stephen Hawking to turn up unexpectedly.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?. During a game of "Scenes From a Hat", one of the suggestion that got pulled out was "Celebrities who shouldn't release rap records". Brad Sherwood made a reference to Stephen Hawking who "shouldn't put out a rap record".
  • Seinfeld. In the episode The Butter Shave, Jerry calls George Stephen Hawking when he sees George in a power chair, recently given to him by his boss, believing that George has injured both legs. George's boss later finds out George's legs are okay when he sees George try to fend off a group of old people on power chairs. He is standing on both legs, and using the power chair as a weapon.
  • Malcom in the Middle. In one episode, the title character's friend, Stevie Kenarban, was so sad that his mother left his father, he talked by using a machine similar to that of Stephen Hawking.
  • The Big Bang Theory. In the pilot episode, one of the title character's friends, Howard Wolowitz, brings over a tape, stating that it is a Stephen Hawking lecture recorded in 1974, "before he became a creepy computer voice."

Referenced to in cartoonsEdit

  • Jimmy Neutron. Jimmy, Sheen, and Carl are in the lab, and Sheen asks what guy Jimmy is going to be for halloween. Carl 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.
  • 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 equaled 6.

Jason, designing a computer game called .0005 Life on his computer, comments to Peter about the games advanced AI ("The guys you'll be fighting won't just be smart, they'll be SUPER smart!). Seconds later, he demonstrates this to Peter by having Hawking attack the character he is playing the game as, adding that "[Hawking's] wheelchair shoots missles."

  • 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.
    • He makes a cameo appearance on It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One. He is seen with his wife sitting by a fire singing "She'll be coming around the mountain"
    • Steven Hawking talks to reporter Tricia Takanawa in the eighth season episode, "April in Quahog", about the first direcly observable instance of a black hole. Hawking tells Takanawa, using his electronic voice, that the discovery "validates the work of a lifetime" before getting out of his wheelchair and talking in a "regular" voice. He is then thrown a sufboard which he catches and with which walks off, telling Takanawa, "see ya, bitch".
  • 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 radioEdit

  • 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.
  • 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), featuring album artwork done by comic artist Tony Moore. Hawking himself is reported to have said that he is "flattered, as it's a modern day equivalent to Spitting Image".[5]
  • 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-using 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."[6]
  • YES. The band used the lyrics "Hawking's Mind" in the song "Real Love," featured in their 1994 album, "TALK."
  • The Bloodhound Gang. In the song "Boom", Jimmy Pop mentioned "I squeak like Stephen Hawking, Yeah, But I'm Walking."
  • Symphony of Science. In the original production by John Boswell, portions of Hawking's Universe series were used as lyrics and included in 'A Glorious Dawn'.

Books, comics and newspapersEdit

  • 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.
  • Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire. 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. [1]
  • Hyperion Cantos. Hawking's name appears across the tetralogy 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.[7] 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.
  • 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".
  • Atomic Robo. Hawking creates a fake psychological profile of ATOMIC ROBO indicating the robot hero has a power-standby mode, thus making him an ideal candidate for an envoy for the Viking mars lander. As ATOMIC ROBO does not have a power-standby mode, this leads ROBO to spend the entire Ten month trip without sufficient means to stave off boredom/maintain sanity.

Other mediaEdit

  • Shin Megami Tensei. In this videogame and its sequel, there is a wheelchair-using 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.
  • Hello Kitty: Happy Party Pals. 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 named after Stephen Hawking
  • Jimmy Carr - Stand up DVD. Jimmy Carr Claims to have written a letter to him from his (fictional) 9 year old son. According to Carr, Hawking paid for a free balloon ride for Jimmy's fictional disabled son.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit


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