The last man intelligent enough to set the clock on the microwave to the correct time has reportedly died aged 74.

The man, an astrophysicist and cosmologist who is largely credited with furthering mankind’s understanding of the origins of the universe and the nature of time itself, died in his sleep last week.

His bestselling manual on how to program the clock on a microwave oven, A Brief History of Time” reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list in 1988.

“Once you get past the 300 page foreword on the nature of time itself and how blackholes work you get into the really complicated stuff about actually programming the microwave.”

“Stephen Hawking was the only one really understood time sufficiently to understand how to do it, but his thumbs didn’t work so the microwave in his kitchen showed a different time to his oven like everybody else.” Professor Brian Cox told The Rochdale Herald.

“I understood the quantum theory stuff but the bit about setting the timer lost me.”