Science writer Kitty Ferguson sits next to Stephen Hawking in this undated photograph. Ferguson is the author of several books about physics, including Stephen Hawking: Quest for a Theory of Everything and Black Holes in Spacetime.
Make a list of the world's most popular scientists, and Stephen Hawking's name will be near or at the very top of the list.
Hawking, the author of A Brief History of Time and a professor at the University of Cambridge, is known as much for his contributions to theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity as for his willingness to make science accessible for the general public, says science writer Kitty Ferguson.
"It's not dumbing down [science]; it's really making it accessible, hopefully, to a lot of people," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
The Book of Mormon features music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone and plays at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City.
Credit Michael Yarish / Comedy Central
While in college, Matt Stone (left) and Trey Parker wrote and directed a black comedy called Cannibal! The Musical. A Fox executive saw the film and commissioned the duo to create an animated short, which eventually led to the creation of South Park.
Credit Joan Marcus / Courtesy of the artist
Rema Webb, Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad star in The Book of Mormon, a musical created by South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone.