Creator: Stephen Hawking

I'm working on that.
Stephen Hawking, on seeing the warp core when touring the Star Trek: The Next Generation set.

Born 8 January 1942 in Oxford, Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA, is a theoretical astrophysicist. In his time he has 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 (Hawking himself disputes that title, however, arguing himself to be, at best, the greatest scientist since Richard Feynman, whom he considers the best since Einstein). The reason this is necessary is that he has been left almost paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, "speaking" through a specially-designed computer (the voice of which is also very well-known), due to his having motor neuron disease (MND). This is the collective name for a group of five related degenerative neural disorders, of which best-known to the general public is ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), better known to Americans as Lou Gehrig's disease. It's not definitively known which form of MND he has, although it's thought that he has ALS. (He is also rather famous for his affliction, as well: if it is ALS, it would be the most protracted case ever recorded — it hasn't progressed the way ALS normally does, which has stymied a definitive diagnosis, which can only be confirmed by post-mortem dissection of the brain.)

Hawking is also quite famous for his sense of humor. He has appeared several times on The Simpsonsnote , Futurama and The Big Bang Theory As Himself, each time bordering on the line of Adam Westing. (And yes, that's him reciting one of the "Boom-de-yadas" in the Discovery Channel's "I Love The Whole World" promo.) Expys of him have appeared in form (Family Guy) and in Charlie and the Chocolate Parody form (Dexter's Laboratory). He appears 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's the only person to appear in any Star Trek series As Himself (obviously, as a holodeck recreation of himself). Hawking is also known to be a fan of Red Dwarf. He also appeared in The Fairly Oddparents, where he and Crocker knew each other from their days as college students. When Crocker gave Timmy an F because Timmy said 2+2=5, Hawking showed up and produced evidence Timmy was right. At the end of episode, Crocker claimed he reviewed Hawking's calculations and concluded 2 plus 2 was six.

Hawking was at one point offered a knighthood, but turned it down in protest of the state of science education in Britain. He ended at #25 in One Hundred Greatest Britons.

He's been played in Hawking by Benedict Cumberbatch, who also provides voiceover narration in Hawking's documentaries, and Eddie Redmayne in the 2014 biopic The Theory of Everything, who ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Actor.

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?

Not to be confused with Stephen King.


Associated Tropes:

  • A Wizard Did It: Subverted. God did not create the universe according to Hawking. Or more specifically, He may have, but He didn't need to, as it can be explained by gravity and quantum mechanics.
  • Adam Westing: Anytime he appears in animated form, expect his wheelchair to be a cross between Inspector Gadget and a Transformer.
  • And I Must Scream: Defied despite his condition. Put best with this quote from Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking:
    Hello. I am Stephen Hawking. Physicist, cosmologist, and something of a dreamer. Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free.
  • As Himself: The only person to have appeared in the entire Star Trek franchise As Himself.note 
  • Badass: Anyone who defies an And I Must Scream condition and becomes an immensely successful scientist and an important piece of pop culture has to be a Badass.
  • 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...
  • Cool Old Guy: 73 years old and still doing that science thing.
  • Determinator: At 21, he was told he had (at most) two and a half years left to live. Ordinary people would consider suicide when diagnosed with an And I Must Scream-causing disease that cannot be cured. He's lived long enough to have to take a mandatory retirement from his post at Cambridge University (the same position once held by Isaac Newton) because the University forbids anyone older than 67 from holding it. At the age of 70, he participated in (and helped narrate) the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. He recently turned seventy-two with a positive attitude.
    Life has thrown at me, both good times, and bad. Perhaps it is human nature, that we adapt, and survive. As for me, I have lived with the prospect of an early death most of my life. I am not afraid of dying, but I am in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do and find out first.
  • Disabled Snarker
    • Once when he encountered Brent Spiner (who played Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation and played poker with Hawking in that series) at a convention, he said, "Spiner, you still owe me twenty dollars!" and at another, more recent convention, quipped, "Where's my money, Spiner?"
    • His opening statement on England's chances at winning The World Cup:
    "It is widely accepted in the field, that a key factor of achieving World Cup champions status is winning matches.", which doubles as Self-Deprecation.
  • Disney Owns This Trope: His synthetic voice is trademarked. To the point once he saw The Theory of Everything, his approval led to a similar computerized speech being replaced by the real deal.
  • Fake American: His voice synthesizer has caused him to be mistaken for an American. He has said he would like to replace it with a synthesizer with a British accent, but it's become so synonymous with himself that he knows he can't.
  • Genius Cripple: The Trope Codifier for modern portrayals and interpretations of this trope.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Asked how he had fathered children despite his condition, he replied that Lou Gehrig's Disease only affects voluntary muscles.
  • Hope Sprouts Eternal: Despite his horrible disease he still manages to be optimistic.
  • Machine Monotone: Famously so. As he is unable to speak on his own he requires a special computer to assist him.
  • Nerd Glasses: Probably helped popularize this trope as well.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Stephen from Shin Megami Tensei is a wheelchair-bound genius who helps the heroes.
    • Brian's professor in Family Guy is another ersatz version of Hawking, down to the synthesizer.
  • One of Us: A huge fan of Star Trek, The Simpsons and Red Dwarf, all of which he's appeared in as himself. Also of Doctor Who, even appearing in the special where Peter Capaldi was introduced as the new Doctor. And scored a cameo in 2014 Monty Python reunion show, where he stops Brian Cox from critiquing The Galaxy Song ("You're being too pedantic!") and rolls away reciting the lyrics.
  • Self-Deprecation: He seems to take his paralysis with good humor and even makes jokes about it. Mentioning that his professorial chair at Cambridge was formerly held by Isaac Newton, he remarked, "They say it's Newton's chair, but obviously it's been changed." Also, when giving a speech at Stanford, he told the audience that he hoped they could understand his British accent.
  • Significant Birth Date: Born three hundred years to the day after the death of Galileo.