Trending: From black holes to bright lights for Hawking

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The Independent Culture

Professor Stephen Hawking CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA has almost half an alphabet's worth of letters after his name, a grasp of theoretical physics and cosmology second to none, 12 honorary degrees and a list of best-selling books that would put Stephenie Meyer to shame.

That would be a lifetime's work for a whole University's worth of academics, let alone one man who has been living with Motor Neurone Disease for almost 50 years. But Hawking also has a nice little sideline in high-profile TV cameos. He's appeared in The Simpsons and Futurama in cartoon form and Star Trek: The Next Generation as a hologram.

His latest appearance will be in the new series of US sitcom Big Bang Theory, which follows the lives of a gang of plutonium-grade physics geeks. While there's no word yet on what his episode will consist of, given his place on the lifetime-achievement leaderboard, the folk at the Emmys might want to start sorting his statuette now.

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