Stephen Hawking was a brilliant physicist and a pop culture icon

Thuy Ong, writing for The Verge:

Physicist Stephen Hawking, known for his pioneering brilliance, died today at the age of 76. He is best known for his work on black holes and theoretical physics, but he also made many pop cultural appearances in films, TV shows, books, and comics. Hawking has been referenced and made direct appearances in shows like The Simpsons, Futurama, and The Big Bang Theory as well as the X-Men comics, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Doctor Who.

Most famously, Hawking made multiple appearances in The Simpsons. In one scene in the season 10 episode “They Saved Lisa’s Brain,” Homer has a beer with Hawking at Moe’s Tavern. “Your theory of a donut-shaped universe is intriguing, Homer,” Hawking quips. “I may have to steal it.” He was featured in an MC battle with the band Flight of the Conchords in another episode, complete with an E=mc2 neck chain. Hawking has called The Simpsons “the best thing on American television,” stating that “almost as many people know me through The Simpsons as through my science.”

The Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman paid tribute to Hawking on Twitter:

Hawking also showed up on Futurama, where main character Fry falsely believes him to have invented gravity — to which Hawking replies, “Sure, why not?” In an appearance on The Big Bang Theory, Hawking noted an arithmetic mistake in Sheldon’s paper, and he played poker with Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton on the Holodeck in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Hawking’s sense of humour was a major factor in who he was, he saw humour in many places.

You can see some of his sense of humour in his interview with John Oliver below, where when asked, “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?”Hawking offers the following reply: “Yes. And also a universe where you’re funny.”