When people would ask us who a 'dream guest star' for the show would be, we would always joke and say 'Stephen Hawking' -- knowing that it was a long shot of astronomical proportions, said Bill Prady, one of the show's creators, writers and executive producers. In fact, we're not exactly sure how we got him. It's the kind of mystery that could only be understood by, say, a Stephen Hawking.
The hit CBS sitcom centers around five characters, including four geeky friends -- including two Caltech physicists who are roommates, an aerospace engineer and an astrophysicist -- and a beautiful waitress and aspiring actress who lives down the hall. In his cameo role, Hawking, 70, will visit Sheldon Cooper, played by Jim Parsons, at Caltech to share his beautiful mind with his most ardent admirer, according to publicity.
The producers of The Big Bang Theory had reportedly asked Hawking, who has a neurological disorder, to appear on their show before, but he turned down the offer, citing an illness. He speaks from his wheelchair with the help of a vocal synthesizer.
While Hawking is better-known in physics circles, he's familiar to some American television viewers as the voice of characters on The Simpsons and Futurama. He has has also appeared on NBC Late Night with Conan O'Brien and guest starred on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Hawking is considered one of the foremost theoretical physicists and cosmologists of our era, serving as Cambridge's Lucasian Professor of Mathematics between 1979 and 2009 and creating key scientific works and theorems regarding gravitational singularities in the framework of Einstein's theory of general relativity. Hawking was also the first to theorize black holes actually emit radiation, which is known as Hawking radiation. His bestselling work, A Brief History of Times, remained on the British Sunday Times best-sellers list for a record 237 weeks.
Hawking is a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and was awarded the Albert Einstein Award in 1978, the Wolf Prize in 1988, the Prince of Asturias Award in 1989, the Copley Medal in 2006, and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Hawking has been married twice and has three children.