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Stephen Hawking, who, despite the rare form of motor neuron disease with which he was diagnosed at age 22 that left him confined in a wheelchair and only able to speak via a voice synthesizer, managed to become a respected physicist with a high popular culture profile, has passed away. He was 76.

Hawking wrote a best seller, “A Brief History of Time,” about black holes and relativity, and was portrayed on television by Benedict Cumberbatch and in a film by Eddie Redmayne; he also appeared on such television shows - as himself - as “The Big Bang Theory” and, memorably, “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” In the latter, he was shown playing poker on the Enterprise’s holodeck with Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and android Lt. Commander Data.
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