Richard Dawkins complains people keep confusing him with Stephen Hawking

'Once, after a talk at a Lit Fest, the first question I got was "Why aren’t you in your wheelchair?"'

Chiara Giordano
Saturday 17 March 2018 16:38
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Professor Stephen Hawking dies at the age of 76

Biologist and author Richard Dawkins has claimed young scientists, television producers – and even royalty – have confused him with famous physicist Stephen Hawking.

The world woke to the news that Professor Hawking had died peacefully at his Cambridge home in the early hours of Wednesday.

The renowned physicist, famous for the 1988 publication A Brief History of Time, passed away at the age of 76 last week.

But that same day, British evolutionary biologist and atheist writer Richard Dawkins, 76, took to Twitter to raise concerns over young scientists and TV producers mixing up the names of the two famous professors.

The controversial author even shared an anecdote of the time Prince Philip made “the same mistake when presenting Professor Hawking with a big medal” to hammer the point home.

“Many excellent young science graduates would give their all for a job in television,” he wrote.

“So where did a leading TV company find the ‘Editorial Producer' who just invited to me ‘to talk to us about the life and legacy of your colleague Richard Hawkins’?”

“Now another TV producer wants me to talk about ‘the death of Professor Hawkins’,” he later added.

“I heard Prince Philip make the same mistake when presenting Professor Hawking with a big medal.”

According to Dawkins, he was once even asked why he wasn’t in a wheelchair after a talk at a literary festival.

“Once, after a talk at a Lit Fest, the first question I got was ‘Why aren’t you in your wheelchair?’” he said.

Professor Hawking was given two years to live and confined to a wheelchair after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21.

While Hawking is known across the globe for his 1988 publication, which made it into popular culture, Dawkins wrote well-known book The God Delusion, published in 2006.

Twitter users commented on Dawkins’ tweets with their own comedic responses, including one person who said the thread had actually made them “forget the real name of Stephen Hawking for a second”.

Another posted a screenshot of someone’s “favourite photo of Professor Steve Harking”, saying “it could be worse”.

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