And now he rules us all from Zero G, snip:
Hawking, 65, perhaps the most renowned theoretical physicist of his time, has long suffered from a motor neuron disorder called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Unable to move his hands and legs, he has been wheelchair bound for nearly four decades. In the mid-1980s, he also lost his ability to speak naturally after a tracheotomy following a bad bout with pneumonia.
As a result, Hawking, who is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge in England, communicates by making small facial expressions, using the muscles around his eyes, eyebrows, cheek and mouth, raising an eyebrow, for example, to signal “yes.” Technology has allowed him to communicate more extensively through a computer that talks for him in a synthesized voice while he chooses words on the screen through an infrared sensor on a headpiece that detects motion in his cheek. That voice has resounded — as definitively Hawking’s — through pop culture as well as scientific circles and he has defied all ALS odds. But he lives immobilized in a body debilitated by the irreversible neuromuscular disorder.
Yesterday, Hawking escaped the confines of his illness for 4 minutes and experienced a freedom unlike any he’s ever known, becoming the first person with a disability to experience a zero-g flight on this commercial airline.
Before taking off over the Atlantic Ocean, Hawking acknowledged that experiencing weightlessness even for a few seconds would be a welcome change from life in the wheelchair. “The chance to float free in zero-g will be wonderful,” he said through his computer voice synthesizer during a pre-flight news conference. “I want to demonstrate to the public that anybody can participate in this type of weightless experience.”
(…) “It was amazing . . . I could have gone on and on,” Hawking said after landing. “Space, here I come.”
Also, The Age has a video that is just incredible.
Sing it with me, people:
“E” stands for energy, yo that’s me,
I’m a brilliant scientist and a dope MC.
Before you step to me I’d think twice G,
I’m the Lord of Chaos, King of Entropy.
You down with it? I motherfuckin’ hope so,
’cause if you’re not, I got a motherfuckin’ rope yo!
I’ll string you up, from a big-ass tree,
with a sign round your neck that says, “Wack MC”.
There ain’t another motherfucker hard like me,
I’m a universal constant, I’m a singularity.
Got Doomsday at my back with fat-ass tracks,
he pumps funk in the cracks and cuts wax with an axe.
So listen up bitch, ’cause there may be a test,
my style is smooth, but it’s hard to digest.
My science is tight, rhymes faster than light,
like a ton of TNT I’m about to ignite.
(From MC Hawking‘s E=mc Hawking)