The protein ovocledidin-17 controls the eggshell crystallization process, and without it, the shell couldn't form at all. Scientists weren't just trying to settle a bet between Hawking and some other scientist, either. Understanding what eggshells are made of has some pretty incredible real-world applications, such as strengthening synthetic bones or stopping freaking global warming.
One of the newest ways scientists are trying to tackle global warming is by capturing all that excess CO2 that cars and hairspray canisters have been farting into the air, then storing it until we figure out how to make flat-screen TVs out of it. Understanding the protein that makes eggs form can help us crystallize carbon dioxide into limestone, presumably so we can then dump it into the ocean. Because what harm could possibly come from putting genetically modified rocks into the ocean?