Stephen Hawking

Paying tribute to one of the world's greatest minds.

16 March, 2018

Everyone at Red Dwarf HQ was incredibly sorry this week to hear of the passing away of Professor Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist, cosmologist and author. Prof. Hawking, who was best known for his bestselling book A Brief History of Time, died on 14th March at the age of 76.

Stephen Hawking

To anyone with an interest in science - and, therefore, science fiction - Hawking was an inspiration, and Red Dwarf is no exception. Many of the concepts of which he was an expert proponent, from black holes to the many worlds (aka "parallel universes") interpretation, were hooks upon which the show was built - and we owe much to his ability not only to devise theories, but to present them in an articulate and engaging way that opened up science to a wider audience.

But more than that, Prof. Hawking was also renowned for his sharp sense of humour and a deep-rooted love of comedy. He made several guest appearances down the years on comedy shows such as The Simpsons, Futurama and The Big Bang Theory. And we're extremely proud that he was also a vocal fan of Red Dwarf. Having a person generally regarded as one of - if not - the most intelligent in the world publicly express their love for the show has certainly always been a feather in our cap, and we were delighted when he joined us to celebrate our tenth anniversary in 1998.

Appearing in the Red Dwarf A-Z feature on BBC2's Red Dwarf Night in February that year, Prof. Hawking declared that his love of the show was rooted in the fact that:

Unlike some science fiction series, Red Dwarf does not take itself too seriously, and does not try to be politically correct. This allows it to do stories and situations that Star Trek would never dare touch.

Showing himself to be truly in touch with the majority of Red Dwarf fandom, he also proclaimed Back to Reality as his favourite episode.

In the great scheme of things, the loss to Red Dwarf fandom is of course nothing compared to the loss being felt both by the world of science, and the world at large. But nevertheless, we are sorry to have lost a member of our unique "Dwarfer" community, and glad to have known him as a part of it.

Stephen William Hawking, 1942 - 2018

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