The entire scientific community was shaken by the death of physicist Stephen Hawking earlier this week, and that includes where science and entertainment intersect. Hawking was a frequent topic and one-time guest on the science-based sitcom The Big Bang Theory (appropriately, since Hawking did a lot of the math that helped advance the actual big bang theory). The cast of the show has been posting moving tributes to their friend and hero ever since his death was announced on Wednesday.
Many of the stars of the show posted the same photo: a group shot they all took on set with Hawking in the center. Alongside the photo, each wrote in his or her own words what the late physicist meant to them.
“It was truly such an honor getting to work with the incredible Stephen Hawking,” Kaley Cuoco wrote on Instagram. “He made us laugh and we made him laugh. His life and career workings have been many a subject matter on @thebigbangtheory__ and we are all better for it. You will be missed but the world is grateful for the knowledge and courage you leave in your path. Thank you for being an inspiration to everyone.”
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Johnny Galecki quoted Hawking in his tribute to the late, great 20th-century scientist.
“RIP #stephenhawking Not only your brilliance, but your sense of humor will be sorely missed by all,” he wrote. “‘Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.’ — Stephen Hawking.”
And Mayim Bialik pointed out that Hawking’s death fell on Pi Day, a day many people celebrate the number and the scientific and mathematical power behind it.
“As we near Pi day (3.14) I join the global community in mourning the loss of the greatest physicist of our era,” she wrote. “#StephenHawking is free from the physical constraints of this earthly condition we all exist in and he is soaring above us now marveling at it all. Thank you, Dr. Hawking, for enlightening us and blessing us with your wisdom and courage.”
It’s clear Hawking’s short time spent on the set of TBBT left a major impact on the cast. Their sentiments about the legacy he leaves behind as well as the loss of him is no doubt shared by numerous folks around the world.