The holodeck on the Enterprise-D can recreate many things. But one thing it didn't have to fictionalize was cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who loved Star Trek so much he made his own cameo appearance on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in 1993.
The episode was "Descent, Part 1," which featured the final showdown between Data and his brother Lore, both played by Brent Spiner.
The scene was a quiet one, a friendly game of poker Data was playing with some of the greatest minds in world history — including Hawking, who became internationally renown for his book "A Brief History of Time" in 1988. There he brought the universe to everyday people, using language so understandable it stayed on top of the book charts for years and has now sold more than 10 million copies.
Hawking has made a number of cameo appearances during that time, including lending his electronic voice to "The Simpsons." But it was his time on TNG that he remembers the most fondly, according to a new documentary set to debut at the Cambridge Film Festival on Sept. 19.
"A lot of fuss was made about my book," Hawking said in his narration of the documentary. "I became known nationally and around the world, as it was translated into 40 different languages. I was invited onto chat shows, and I made a cameo appearance on Star Trek, my favorite sci-fi show."
Yet, for Hawking, it still remains all about the science.
"I enjoy the media attention, but also witnessing every day people getting more involved in understanding the physics of our universe."
Hawking, 71, was diagnosed with motor neuron disease when he was 21, and was given only two years to live. A half-century later, however, Hawking still remains quite active as the director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology.
His documentary, "Hawking," will be available for download and DVD purchase on Sept. 23.
About the Author
Michael Hinman is the founder and editor-in-chief for 1701News, Airlock Alpha and the entire GenreNexus. He owns Nexus Media Group Inc., the parent corporation of the GenreNexus, and a co-founder of 1701News. He lives in Tampa, Fla.