Entertainment

Stephen Hawking and pop culture references

Stephen Hawking displays a cartoon of himself with characters from the famous television serial 'The Simpsons' during a public lecture titled 'Science in the future' in Mumbai on January 14, 2001.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking passed away on March 14, 2018, leaving behind a rich legacy. Known for his wit and humour, Hawking has also appeared in many TV shows and talk shows. A look at some of the iconic roles he played over the years.

The Simpsons

In 1999, Stephen Hawking had a cameo role to play in the beloved The Simpsons episode “They Saved Lisa’s Brain”. When the characters are boasting about their I.Q.s, in comes Hawking saying in his signature computerised tone, “Big deal, my I.Q. is 280.” He then tells Skinner: “I don’t know what is a bigger disappointment, my failure to formulate a unified field theory, or you.” Snap! He makes several other appearances in the show including an episode in which he shares a beer and conversation with Homer Simpson. “Your theory of a donut shaped universe is intriguing, Homer. I may have to steal it.”

The Big Bang Theory

A scene from The Big Bang Theory

A scene from The Big Bang Theory   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Anyone who has watched and rolled their eyes at Sheldon Cooper (the lead character of the series) will know that Hawking is his inspiration. The scientist has made a few cameo appearances in the geek show, much to Sheldon’s delight. And of course, he was at his wittiest best. In ‘The Hawking Excitation’, Hawking gives Sheldon feedback on a paper, telling him, “You made an arithmetic mistake on page two. It was quite the boner.” Oops! And Sheldon promptly faints! Hawking then remarks, “Great, another fainter!”

The Theory of Everything & Hawking

British actors Felicity Jones (L) and Eddie Redmayne (R) pose with British scientist Stephen Hawking (C) at the UK premiere of the film 'The Theory of Everything' in London on December 9, 2014. The film is based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, by Jane Hawking, and stars Eddie Redmayne protraying the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.

British actors Felicity Jones (L) and Eddie Redmayne (R) pose with British scientist Stephen Hawking (C) at the UK premiere of the film 'The Theory of Everything' in London on December 9, 2014. The film is based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, by Jane Hawking, and stars Eddie Redmayne protraying the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.   | Photo Credit: AFP

 

The Eddie Redmayne starrer The Theory of Everything went on to win Academy Awards and Golden Globe awards for the truthful and heartening portrayal of Stephen Hawking's life and relationships. Hawking provided his own voice for the movie. Benedict Cumberbatch took on the role of Stephen Hawking in the 2004 BBC TV film which portrayed Hawking's life as a PhD student in Cambridge. Cumberbatch's portrayal of Hawking was the first ever portrayal of the physicist on the big screen.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

In Season 6 of the iconic show, Hawking portrayed his own holographic self and even beats Einstein in poker. Yep, you heard right! When taking a tour of the set, he apparently 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.

Talk shows and Stephen Hawking

His very famous interview with TV show host John Oliver cannot go unmentioned. In the interview Oliver asks him, “You’ve stated that there could be an infinite number of parallel universes. Does that mean there’s a universe out there where I am smarter than you?” To which Hawking replies: “Yes. And also a universe where you’re funny.” Burn! Hawking has appeared in various other talk shows such as Good Morning Britain, Late Night with Conan, Larry King Live, etc.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 6:40:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/stephen-hawking-and-pop-culture-references/article23262335.ece

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