We've seen some of our favorite tech icons submit themselves for inclusion in quirky television commercials before. But the last person anyone would expect to show up in a TV ad is the legendary Stephen Hawking, one of the leading thinkers in theoretical physicists.
The television commercial, promoting a major British insurance company, shows Hawking delivering a lecture during which he announces a major (fictional) breakthrough. Hawking says, "And, after a lifetime of study I have finally calculated and formulized the exact conditions needed to generate a super massive black hole." The crowd collectively gasps, and then one audience member asks what Hawking intends to do with the technology. At that point we cut to a scene of the insurance company's annoying pitchman, a flamboyant, mustachioed opera singer, suddenly being swept up into a black hole.
In the past, Hawking has appeared on popular American television shows like The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory, and Futurama. And, since Hawking is British, his inclusion in the country's popular culture should come as no great surprise. But by appearing in a television commercial selling insurance, it seems like the famed physicist might be stretching the boundaries of pop icon versus respected physicist a little farther than some might expect from a serious scientist. You can judge for yourself by checking out the commercial spot in the video below.