Stephen Hawking’s Universe: A Visualization of His Lectures with Stars & Sound

It’s a lit­tle ran­dom. It’s very cool. It’s Jared Fick­lin’s inter­ac­tive art project that takes Stephen Hawk­ing’s Cam­bridge Lec­tures and then uses an algo­rithm to turn the physi­cist’s words into stars. The video pret­ty much explains all that you need to know. I should only add two things. 1.) Fick­lin is one of the speak­ers at the big TED show this week, and 2.) it looks like you can snag The Cam­bridge Lec­tures (or pret­ty much any book you want) as a free audio down­load from if you sign up for their 14 day, no-strings-attached, free tri­al. Get more details on that here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Errol Mor­ris’ Trib­ute to Stephen Hawk­ing, A Brief His­to­ry of Time

Stephen Hawk­ing: Aban­don Earth Or Face Extinc­tion

Stephen Hawk­ing on Reli­gion: ‘Sci­ence Will Win Because it Works’

Free Physics Cours­es (part of our col­lec­tion of 750 Free Online Cours­es)

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Dan says:

    Love the posts and this one in par­tic­u­lar, but it seems a bit disin­gen­u­ous to say “Check out this link to” when what you real­ly mean is “This is our affil­i­ate link to”.

    It makes it seem like you think we’re naive, unable to dis­tin­guish between use­ful con­tent (which, admit­ted­ly, is) and pro­mot­ed con­tent.

    That said, I could be com­plete­ly wrong, in which case I apol­o­gize for being pre­sump­tu­ous.

  • John Rudkin says:

    An open let­ter to Pro­fes­sor Stephen Hawk­ing on then­pub­li­ca­tion of his book My Brief His­to­ryn­nDear Pro­fes­sor Hawk­ingn­nY­our new book will con­sol­i­date the uni­ver­sal­ly admi­ra­tion and respect you have earned for your out­stand­ing per­son­al courage in con­fronting severe­ly-debil­i­tat­ing ill­ness, excep­tion­al inno­v­a­tive think­ing, and for lec­tures, writ­ings and tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ta­tions which haven­widened and deep­ened pop­u­lar inter­est in sci­ence. In pur­su­ing your goal — which, you have said, is to achieve a com­plete under­stand­ing of the uni­verse, why it is as it is and why it exists at all u2013 you have demon­strat­ed that major advances in sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge can arise from fun­da­men­tal the­o­ret­i­cal consideration.nnWith the above in mind, this let­ter is writ­ten in the hope of inter­est­ing and encour­ag­ing you to turn your bril­liant­ly-insight­ful intel­lec­tu­al abil­i­ty to the remarkable,nwell-attested anom­alies that chal­lenge our under­stand­ing of the nature of real­i­ty of human expe­ri­ence. Ein­stein said: u201cThe most beau­ti­ful thing we can expe­ri­ence is the mys­te­ri­ous. It is the source of all true art and scienceu201d. How­ev­er, sci­ence seems large­ly deter­mined to ignore many sig­nif­i­cant mys­ter­ies, the num­ber and nature of which are such that they clear­ly show that the cur­rent com­mon­ly-accept­ed sci­en­tif­ic view of real­i­ty mustnbe far very from com­plete. What may seem to be mys­te­ri­ous or anom­alous can turn out, of course, to be due to error, arti­fact or even fraud, and the­nun­sci­en­tif­ic u201dnew age” or “occultu201d are of no inter­est or val­ue in this con­text. As a retired prag­mat­ic pro­fes­sion­al sci­en­tist and engi­neer, my ref­er­ence is to only those anom­alies for which the evi­dence is so robust that­nthey can­not be dis­missed or explained away, as is the case in the fol­low­ing exam­ples, for which chap­ter and verse are available.nnThere are many record­ed instances of one iden­ti­cal twin being hurt — in one case by being shot dead — and the oth­er, else­where, not only simul­ta­ne­ous­ly feel­ingn­pain, but even suf­fer­ing a bruise in the same place on the body. It has been shown in lab­o­ra­to­ry stud­ies that the sud­den shin­ing of a bright light into the eyes of a sub­ject evokes elec­tri­cal respons­es in the brain of the sub­ject asnex­pect­ed, but also, simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, in the brain of a dis­tant per­son who has been in recent close asso­ci­a­tion with the sub­ject. Fur­ther, the results of numer­ous, exten­sive, rig­or­ous­ly-con­trolled, repli­cat­ed stud­ies, par­tic­u­lar­ly those inde­pen­dent­ly car­ried out in New York, Edin­burgh and Gothen­burg have demon­strat­ed that infor­ma­tion can be anom­alous­ly trans­ferred between indi­vid­u­als with odds of greater than a thou­sand mil­lion to one against it hav­ing been by chance.nnA metic­u­lous­ly con­trolled, five-year research study led by the Pro­fes­sor of Exper­i­men­tal Physics at the Uni­ver­si­tyn of Lon­don demon­strat­ed that, pure­ly by the exer­cise of inten­tion, chil­dren can pro­duce mea­sur­able mechan­i­cal elec­tri­cal, mag­net­ic and struc­tur­al effects in metals.nnDevices which pro­duce out­puts of ran­dom sequences of zeros and ones have been used at Prince­tonn Uni­ver­si­ty to study the effect of human inten­tion at the sub-atom­ic lev­el. More than two decades of sci­en­tif­ic stud­ies have shown con­sis­tent­ly that such sequences can be influ­enced by the pre-stat­ed voli­tion to pro­duce, for exam­ple, more zeros than ones — or vice-ver­sa. The sub­stan­tial body of accu­mu­lat­ed data is such that then­sta­tis­ti­cal odds against the results being due to chance are many mil­lion mil­lions to one.nnImpartial analy­ses have been made of the results of thir­tyn­for­mal sci­en­tif­ic inves­ti­ga­tions into attempts by inten­tion alone to influ­ence the auto­nom­ic ner­vous sys­tems of dis­tant per­sons. The inescapable con­clu­sion­nwas that there were char­ac­ter­is­tic, sig­nif­i­cant bio­log­i­cal vari­a­tions dur­ing dis­tant inten­tion­al­i­ty peri­ods when com­pared with ran­dom­ly inter­spersed con­trol­npe­ri­ods. The results of a spe­cif­ic, exhaus­tive, two-year lab­o­ra­to­ry research pro­gramme at The Con­necti­cut Health Cen­tre show that human inten­tion isnre­pro­ducibly able to pro­mote the growth of human tissue.nnRecent acoustic inves­ti­ga­tions have demon­strat­ed repeat­ed­ly that the char­ac­ter­is­tics of sounds made nor­mal­ly u2013 for exam­ple, by rap­ping a table­top with knuck­les — dif­fer sig­nif­i­cant­ly from those pro­duced as mean­ing­ful respons­es to ques­tions by an appar­ent­ly non-mate­r­i­al con­scious­ness. Although indis­tin­guish­able to the ear, nor­mal­ly-pro­duced sounds show an almost-instan­ta­neous rise to peak ampli­tude, where­as the anom­alous sounds have a sig­nif­i­cant­ly slow­er rise to peak, sim­i­lar to that shown by an earthquake.nnMany hun­dreds of in-depth stud­ies have been made of chil­dren, main­ly between three and eight years of age, who say spon­ta­neous­ly that they have lived pre­vi­ousnlives. In a nor­mal wak­ing state they typ­i­cal­ly give details about dis­tant places, pre­vi­ous fam­i­lies, occu­pa­tions and cir­cum­stances of death .Thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tions find close cor­re­spon­dences between appar­ent mem­o­ries andnhis­tor­i­cal facts. The find­ings are espe­cial­ly remark­able in the cas­es where a child bears a scar cor­re­spond­ing in nature and loca­tion to the injury which, research reveals, was respon­si­ble for the death that end­ed the remem­bered­npre­vi­ous existence.nnThere are many record­ed cas­es of indi­vid­u­als invol­un­tar­i­ly hav­ing more than one per­son­al­i­ty, with uncon­trol­lable switch­ing between per­son­al­i­ties. The per­son­al­i­ties can dif­fer very sig­nif­i­cant­ly in age, gen­der and char­ac­ter There are even cas­es of one per­son­al­i­ty in two peo­ple at the same time.nnA com­mon fea­ture of these remark­able anom­alies is mind, or con­scious­ness, which itself must sure­ly be the biggest anom­aly of all. It is unex­plained by mate­ri­al­is­tic­n­the­o­ries of real­i­ty that are based on belief in the pri­ma­cy of the mate­r­i­al world. How­ev­er, rel­a­tiv­i­ty and quan­tum mechan­ics have demon­strat­ed the inter-con­nect­ed­ness of every­thing, and that space and time are not absolutes,nbut also that an observ­er — or con­scious­ness u2013 is an implic­it com­po­nent of the real­i­ty that we expe­ri­ence. The steadi­ly-accu­mu­lat­ing evi­dence strong­ly indi­cates that con­scious­ness is not just a func­tion of the phys­i­cal brain — nor con­fined to it. Our under­stand­ing of real­i­ty is mov­ing in the direc­tion­nof a new par­a­digm, one in which the pri­ma­ry real­i­ty is mind, rather thannmatter.nnBrilliant sci­en­tists who have rec­og­nized the fun­da­men­tal sig­nif­i­cance of con­scious­ness in the fab­ric of real­i­ty notably include Sir Arthur Edding­ton, Max Planck, Sirn­James Jeans, and your con­tem­po­raries Pro­fes­sors Sir Roger Pen­rose, Bri­an Joseph­son, and Bernard Carr — who was once your stu­dent at Cam­bridge. All things con­sid­ered, how­ev­er, it seems that you may be unique­ly able to ini­ti­ate and stim­u­late rad­i­cal new sci­en­tif­ic think­ing which could lead to a more com­plete under­stand­ing of then­na­ture of real­i­ty that includes con­scious­ness. nnSuch progress would sure­ly be the most impor­tant advance ever made in science.nnWith every good wishn­nY­ours sin­cere­lyn­nJohn Rud­kin n

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.