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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