We have all seen the internet lists of supposed "facts" about various celebrities and their alleged mightiness. Usually the subjects of such lists are Chuck Norris, Mr. T, or Vin Diesel. I find this odd, as there are people about whome such lists could be written and actually be true. These people aren't action stars like the three usual suspects, but their contributions are nonetheless real. Let's take, for example, someone who, while admittedly a celbrity, is an unlikely one - Stephen Hawking. Now, you may be asking, what is so remarkable about Stephen Hawking. Well, let me tell you:
Stephen Hawking is arguably one of the greatest physicists ever to have lived. When people list the greats in the field, his name appears along with Newton's Einstein's, and Feynman's.
Despite a crippling illness, Stephen Hawking has remained active as both a researcher and as a public spokesman for science.
Stephen Hawking knows when you are sleeping, and he knows when you're awake.
Stephen Hawking is rare amongst scientists in that he understands that allowing parody of him is a way of humanizing science and removing some of its ability to intimidate.
Contrary to popular belief, the only reason that Chuck Norris is still breathing is because Stephen Hawking, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, has not yet decided that he should die.
Stephen Hawking has demonstrated that many of the facts that we thought we know about the universe - such as the stability of black holes over vast spans of time, are in fact false, thus showing that rather than being a dull excercise in memorization, science is an on-going journey of discovery.
The "immutable" laws of physics are really Stephen Hawking's gutter-punk bitch.
Stephen Hawking can be credited with doing more for the public understanding of science than most other people, with his book A Brief History of Time being a welcome antidote to the nonsense spouted by various self-styled gurus such as Deepak Chopra.
The reason why Jesse Helms retired rather than dying in office, as he had always truly intended, is that he feared what Stephen Hawking might do to him.
Your mom likes to bake pies for Stephen Hawking.
The model of the universe most popular with scientists - that it may be of limited area but is nonetheless essentially without borders, was developed by Stephen Hawking and Jim Hartle.
James Bond was based on Stephen Hawking, but the stories were watered down because the people of the world would not be able to handle the true awesomeness of Hawking's exploits.
It is unwise to meddle in the affairs of Hawking, because you are puny and fun to toss around.
Now, I hope we've all learned something.
And I promise, I'll get back to writing about the oddities inherent in archaeology soon.