My first encounter with Stephen Hawking was during college via his vociferously popular book "The Brief History of Time." I was still going out with Opus Dei group by that time but never formally enlisted. Simultaneously, I was also an officer of the school's astronomical society that time. So yes, I am as secular as I am scientific.
Lately I got a book by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow from Amazon CN. For those who have been caving out in the glaciers outside the reach of human civilization, Stephen Hawking is a renowned Birtish Theoritical Physicist suffering from a rare motor neuron disease, locking him in his computer-integrated wheelchair, a lot like the one used by Dr. Charles Xavier, except that Xavier can freely talk, while Hawking needs a voice synthesizer to verbally express his idea. Charles looks vigor, Hawking looks like a vegetable.
He is known for his ground-breaking work on gravitational singularities in the framework of relativity and of course, Hawking Radiation, theoretical concept pivoting on Black Holes emitting radiation.
I remember him being immersed in a heated public disgust for splashing in a British newspaper that God didn't create the universe, that the entire comic landscape is a maelstrom of millions to billions of years of processes framed by our universe's laws of physics. I, just as other people in my field, believe in the same seeding concept. But that doesn't mean that we don't believe in God. We do, but not a personal god. 90% of the world's Nobel Prize scientists believe in God to be more than what we could ever imagine, not a form of energy, not an guiding ether, not a living historical figure, but everything around us and beyond. It took me to study well on M-Theory(Membrane Theory) before I begin to understand the real epitome of divinity. Even humans are a divine speck from the whole strings of matter(String Theory) to the interlocking dimensions, membranes, and blobs. I see the study of M-Theory to be tantamount to looking at a thumb mark of God.
This book is just an encapsulation of quantum mechanics and general relativity in a non-technical language of sub200 pages, explaining how the universe evolved by gravitational law, up into the spontaneous creation of stars, nebulae, planets, moons, and space rocks. It also dispels our very notion about reality and what constitutes it from a quasi-psychological perspective. And to answer, why is there something rather than nothing.
While some may find Stephen Hawking to be annoyingly liberal like modern-day Galileo against Vatican, he is considered to be a rockstar of science by some. Other notable figures that might interest you in the same field would be Neil De Grasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, Carl Sagan, and a lot more.