Probably the must versatile device ever put in an 8 pin DIP until Atmel AtTtiny's. I my tinkering days I had an entire bin drawer full of them. Hats off to the man, half of what we built could never have been without his work.
One of the unsung heroes. I see the Wikipedia 555 page claims 1 billion made every year - amazing!
I see he recently wrote a book "A Much Ado About Almost Nothing": Has anyone read it? Any good?
Like many people, my childhood included a 555 synthesizer. Mine used fixed resistors but was 'tuned' using an oscilloscope. I only have one 555 in active duty - it is on a model railroad (NTRAK) module powering a police box/TARDIS light. To get the proper ramp effect, I use the capacitor pin to feed the LED through a darlington pair.