Have you ever wanted to ask a genius a question but don't want to embarrass yourself (or perhaps you just don't know anyone that smart)? You'll soon get your chance behind the veil of the Internet as renowned physicist Stephen Hawking will be conducting his first-ever Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session next week.

A typical session is conducted in real-time as the host fields and answers as many questions as they can over a couple of hours or so. Hawking's AMA, however, will be handled a bit differently due to the nature of his disability.

The AMA session will open for question on July 27 (next Monday) at 8am Eastern and remain that way until August 4. Hawking will then respond to questions over the coming weeks. Given the recent launch of his initiative to crowdsource the hunt for extraterrestrial life, the AMA will serve as an excellent opportunity to pick his brain on this and virtually any other topic you can come up with.

As you likely know, Hawking suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), typically referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is classified as a particularly nasty form of muscular dystrophy whose onset is often later in life and results in death within just 3-4 years.

Hawking, however, has a rare form of the disease characterized by an early onset and slow progression. He was diagnosed with the motor neuron disease at the age of 21 and was given just two years to live - that was in 1963. Despite the early death sentence and losing his ability to speak long ago (he now uses a computer to communicate), he persevered and is one of the most revered figures in the scientific community.

Image courtesy Charles W. Luzier, Reuters