On the heels of his bombshell claim that black holes — as scientists have traditionally thought of them — may not exist, Stephen Hawking will tell the story of his life in a new PBS documentary that premieres tonight (Jan. 29).
Simply titled "Hawking," the TV portrait will follow the famed astrophysicist "from boyhood under-achiever to PhD genius, and from a healthy cox on the Oxford rowing team to diagnosis of motor neuron disease, given just two years to live — yet surviving several close brushes with death," according to PBS. The documentary will air at 10 p.m. EST (0300 Jan. 30).
In addition to showing his life an auditorium-packing public scientist today, the new documentary will provide a peek at Hawking's personal life: throwing parties, living at home with the help of his nursing team and searching for a faster communication system to help him speak, PBS officials said.
Stephen Hawking, who turned 72 this month, has lived for decades with motor neurone disease (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), which has rendered his immobile and without the ability to speak. Today, Hawking communicates through an electronic voice system that allows him to select words by moving the muscles in his cheek.
Black holes are mysterious objects that not even light can escape. But what exactly are they?
Hawking is famous for this theoretical work, but he's also known to the wider public for his popular science books like "A Brief History of Time," published in 1988, and perhaps his numerous pop culture cameos, including appearing as a hologram on an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and in cartoon form on several episodes of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama."
"Hawking" will air again on Saturday (Feb. 1) at 10 p.m. EST.