I sincerely hope that you have at least a vague idea of who Stephen Hawking is. He's kind of a big deal.
At the most basic, he's a scientist. To be a little more specific, he's a theoretical physicist and a cosmologist. So he's a space scientist. I could list a bunch of scientific things he's discovered or created or sorted out, but are you going to read the whole list? And if you did, would you understand half of it? And if you could understand it, don't you think you probably already know quite a bit about the man who did it all? Yeah, that's what I thought. So let's list a bunch of other accomplishments and fun facts instead...
He has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor.
This week's review book, A Brief History of Time, stayed on the British Sunday Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks. A more timely fact here is that Leonard Nimoy (RIP) found out at the release party for the home video version of Brief History of Time that Hawking wanted to appear on Star Trek, and Nimoy made it happen.
Speaking about his acting, he has done a fair amount of it. He had cartoon appearances on The Simpsons and Futurama, and has appeared in person on Star Trek: TNG and The Big Bang Theory, among many other shows.
If you're curious about that machine that allows him to speak, it is operated by a single cheek muscle. He has a rare form of ALS.
He has co-written (with his daughter Lucy) three children's books, starting with 2007's George's Secret Key to the Universe.
And with that, this great scientist and great many-other-things will kick off our month of scientific non-fiction!