Remembering Stephen Hawking's Many Pop Culture Appearances

Lena Tucker
March 15, 2018

The theoretical physicist who was considered to be the world's greatest living scientist died peacefully at his home in Cambridge on Wednesday at the age of 76, according to his family. After being diagnosed at the age of 21, he had lived for more than half a century with motor neurone disease.

"He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever".

Hawking also warned against a potential takeover of artificial intelligence, as technologists in the USA suggested the country participate in an "A.I. arms race" as China expanded its capacity for automation. "The actor, in a tribute to the late scientist said, "'We have lost a truly attractive mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet". At the time, doctors gave him two and a half years to live.

"Nooo! I'm so so sad to see the news about Stephen Hawking, and at the same time I imagine him learning something new for the last time, and smiling, and I know that the world was richer with him in it".

Tributes have poured in for Prof Hawking since the announcement of his death.

I first went to interview Prof Hawking in 1997 at his office in Cambridge.

Attempting to put Hawking's life - and death - into perspective is a bit of a fool's errand, so we'll leave it to famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

In a statement Professor Hawking's children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said: "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today".

Stephen Hawking will always be remembered for his great contributions to science and will remain immortalised in his many pop culture appearances.

And Anand Mahindra, whose company Tech Mahindra is another big outsourcing firm, tweeted that Hawking "was a constant reminder of how the human spirit can triumph despite fate dealing you a bad hand".

As Hawking told NASA Space Station astronauts in 2014, we wish the same for him: "May you keep flying like superman in microgravity".

In the interview, Oliver hits on some pretty serious scientific topics including the potential rise of AI and briefly touches on some theoretical physics, but it's the back-and-forth banter with Hawking that is the most entertaining.

He was portrayed in both TV and film - recently by Oscar victor Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything, which charted his rise to fame and relationship with his first wife, Jane.

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"My goal is simple", he once said, "it is complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all".

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