Published: 14th March 2018
How Stephen Hawking stayed cool in pop culture from Pink Floyd to Sheldon Cooper
Stephen Hawking's achievements reoriented the theories of physics and the universe and have embedded themselves into pen-drives, our playlist and books that inspire aspiring physicists
Whether you're a science geek who's read all of Stephen Hawking's papers or just a big fan of The Big Bang Theory, there's a very good chance that millennials don't know too much about him past the odd pop culture reference. So if you're quietly wondering who he was and why so many people are saying RIP to the sickly looking man in a wheelchair with a robot voice, fret not. read on.
We bring you the lowdown of how pop culture has celebrated Hawking's legacy:
Keep Talking - Pink Floyd
Keep Talking, apart from being known as one of the British band's most memorable songs from their album The Division Bell, came to band member David Gilmour after Hawking's appearance in a BT advertisement made him emotional. The advertisement was also called Keep Talking, featuring Hawking's legendary 'robot voice'. Stephen Hawking later featured on another Pink Floyd album for a track called Talkin Hawking.
The BT advert (1993)
The inspiration behind Keep Talking, this advert featured Hawking stressing the importance of communication, for the telecom company. His famous line that later prompted the song on the same name was "Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this.”
Hawking's role in four episodes of The Simpsons, particularly one where he comes to "save Lisa's brain" is probably imprinted in the minds of those who've grown up with the show. His humour, slapstick remarks and blunt retorts exhibit his spunk. He considered the show humorous and said it handled and portrayed his disability "responsibly."
Star Trek: The Next Generation
In a galaxy far far away, sometime during the human year of 1989, Hawking appeared for a mind-riveting (for the audience) poker game in the Star Trek TV series. He appears to be playing the game with the founding fathers of physics - Einstein and Newton - aboard a spaceship. That's a scene that sure transcended earthly boundaries.
The Big Bang Theory:
Hawking is constantly referred to on the Chuck Lorre comedy starring Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki as physicists Sheldon and Leonard. Hawking also appeared in seven episodes of the show during various points of time, including their 200th episode where he sings Happy Birthday to Sheldon over Skype.
Stephen Hawking may have left the world today, but his legacy and contributions to both awareness and knowledge render him one of the most powerful men to have inhabited the earth. One whose charisma and will to live and to learn overshadow even the biggest black-holes.