Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking & Arthur C. Clarke Discuss God, the Universe, and Everything Else

Name the three fig­ures, liv­ing or dead, with whom you would most like to sit down to din­ner. Though per­haps a lit­tle tired, the chal­lenge still reveals some­thing worth know­ing about the respon­den­t’s per­son­al­i­ty. If I know the per­son­al­i­ties of Open Cul­ture read­ers at all, I’d wager that more than a few of you would choose to set places at the table for Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawk­ing, and Arthur C. Clarke. Any­one inter­est­ed in ask­ing the big, exis­ten­tial ques­tions and under­stand­ing the sci­ence under­neath them would have the time of their lives at such a meal, espe­cial­ly if astro­phys­i­cal­ly inclined. But until a genie grants you this wish, may we offer God, the Uni­verse, and Every­thing Else?

Pre­sent­ed by Mag­nus Mag­nus­son, long­time host of the BBC’s Mas­ter­mind, this pro­gram brings the three togeth­er to dis­cuss “the Big Bang the­o­ry, God, our exis­tence as well as the pos­si­bil­i­ty of extrater­res­tri­al life.” Hawk­ing, of course, talks through his sig­na­ture speech syn­the­siz­er, and Sagan joins up through a satel­lite link — beamed through, yes, the very sort of float­ing mir­a­cles of engi­neer­ing that Clarke wrote about in his nov­els. With minds like these, you can rest assured that the con­ver­sa­tion won’t stray far from what Sagan calls “the fun­da­men­tal ques­tions,” nor will it come unteth­ered from estab­lished human knowl­edge and float into the realms of wild spec­u­la­tion and wish­ful think­ing. And of course, in such con­ver­sa­tions, a sense of humor like Hawk­ing’s — a man who, not expect­ed to reach age thir­ty, would nev­er­the­less live to see more advance­ment in human knowl­edge than any­one else on the broad­cast — nev­er goes amiss.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawk­ing Remixed

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

Sev­en Ques­tions for Stephen Hawk­ing: What Would He Ask Albert Ein­stein & More

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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Comments (4)
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  • Paul Scheuer says:

    Is it pos­si­ble to have this mar­vel­lous inter­view with
    french sub­ti­tles ?
    I would appre­ci­ate so much

  • Shahidur Rahman Sikder says:

    Sci­en­tist Stephen Hawk­ing clear­ly said in his research paper about the
    reli­gious thought that, there is no lim­it in the place of this
    uni­verse, there is no begin­ning or end of time and there is noth­ing
    that can be done by the cre­ator. Again he said that when opened full
    work of cre­ation, then we are known with God and mankind is share-hold
    of that knowl­edge.

    See the light-

    Encour­ag­ing the spir­it of dis­cov­ery and shar­ing of fun­da­men­tal
    knowl­edge about the Uni­verse and our place in its midst. Find out most
    impor­tant answer­ing of the ques­tions about the uni­verse cre­ation or
    cre­ator yet, remain­ing a ques­tion may be arisen that the field of
    sin­gle dimen­sion or dark ener­gy or a black hole or a source or
    orig­i­nat­ing cause or first cause or omniv­o­rous or nature or cre­ator
    how occurred?

    Con­se­quent­ly, If you under­stand about the fact! Strike the right note
    or put up to note sheet against my web­site infor­ma­tion. New Dis­cov­ery of the Uni­verse: can be found at

  • Ketan r joshi says:

    About god

    It’s not easy to talk about god it’s very very com­pli­cat­ed ques­tion

    Because how your expe­ri­ence and oth­er expe­ri­ences both are dif­fer­ent

    Human sci­ence believes in proof

    As you know when inno­cent human who know the god is destroyed via evil mon­ster greed how you can get proof as it hap­pen in past and as its hap­pen cur­rent­ly

    As you have seen



    Bhag­wad gee­ta

    As you have seen

    On many Hol­ly­wood, Bol­ly­wood movie
    And great tv shows and awards

    God def­i­n­i­tion change as per the sit­u­a­tion

    But may be some­thing some kind of things
    Is con­trol­ling and watch­ing every­thing’s
    Every sec­onds

    May be its god or may be its evil mon­ster

    When things are invis­i­ble

    How you can get the proof

    And may be god father ques­tion

    Why you want to know me

    What you will give and do I will give you the same

    You grow man­go tree I will give you man­go

    May be god father say for how long I will pay for your sin and mis­take which inten­tion­al­ly you are doing

    Take care of the god­fa­ther beau­ti­ful moth­er earth which is already in many prob­lem

    Grow more trees and save fresh food water and dai­ly required things for life

    And save the god­fa­ther beau­ti­ful moth­er earth and ther nat­ur­al resources with healthy wealthy lim­it­ed pop­u­la­tions and more equal­i­ty because resources are lim­it­ed

    On beau­ti­ful moth­er earth

    As there is no apple water on desert

    The god­fa­ther

    Noah, Gandhi,the avengers end game, star…?

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