It’s the rare scientific genius who cares enough to let the rest of us know what he’s up to. The average theoretician is happy enough whiling away his hours constructing differential equations, leaving the James Gleicks of the world to make his breakthrough theory a household name. Stephen Hawking, however, knows well that the road to scientific immortality is paved with trade paperbacks. Nine million copies of A Brief History of Time later, Hawking hasn’t slowed; last year, he solved a long-standing mystery, the black-hole “information paradox.” (Look for the “For Dummies” treatment at your local Barnes & Noble soon.) In the meantime, the Smithsonian Institution is bestowing the 63-year-old Cambridge cosmologist with a valentine—I mean the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal—for both his research and “his influence on young scientists…around the world.” Not mentioned are his other popularization efforts: What with his Simpsons cameo and MC Hawking alter ego, the world’s second-most-famous victim of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has also done quite a bit to raise the profile of the computerized voice synthesizer. Hear one present “brief remarks” at 6:30 p.m. at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 21st and H Streets NW. $28. (202) 357-3030. (Mike DeBonis)