Born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo's death, Hawking is a theoretical physicist who is regarded as one of the most intelligent men alive. He has published numerous papers and books on the nature and origin of the universe, the best known being A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. Hawking also had a miniseries on PBS in 1997, Stephen Hawking's Universe, as well as a long list of TV and movie appearances. He is renowned for making difficult concepts comprehensible to the average reader or viewer.
Hawking has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, which has taken his ability to move or speak under his own power. He uses a speech synthesizer to communicate. Still, Hawking has been heard singing at least three times on Neatorama, in A Glorious Dawn, I Love the World, and in this lecture.
Among Hawking's degrees, honors, and other accomplishments is the awesome fact that he is the only person ever to play himself in any Star Trek film or series.
Happy Birthday, Professor Hawking!