Psychedelic Animation Takes You Inside the Mind of Stephen Hawking

What’s it like inside the mind of the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist Stephen Hawk­ing? Is it an elec­tro-cos­mic dance par­ty nar­rat­ed by Carl Sagan? I would like to think so. So would direc­tor Will Studd of Aard­man Stu­dios who cre­at­ed the hip pro­mo video above, which also includes audio clips from Hawk­ing him­self and fel­low physi­cists Bri­an Cox and Andrew Stro­minger, with music by Max Hal­stead. Pret­ty cool, but what’s it for?

Well, Hawk­ing will very soon join a long line of dis­tin­guished pub­lic intel­lec­tu­als when he deliv­ers two Rei­th Lec­tures, the annu­al BBC Radio event estab­lished in 1948 and inau­gu­rat­ed by Bertrand Rus­sell (access an audio archive of the lec­tures up to 2011 here). Hawk­ing’s first lec­ture, “Do Black Holes Have No Hair?” will debut today (and we’ll post it here for you). The sec­ond, “Black Holes Ain’t as Black as They Are Paint­ed” will broad­cast next Tues­day. So what’s with the funky titles?

Ask Hawking—or rather, read his paper (or one of the lay­folk sum­maries), “Soft Hair on Black Holes,” which he  post­ed a cou­ple of weeks ago on Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty’s arX­iv, an open access data­base of physics, math­e­mat­ics, and oth­er sci­en­tif­ic research. Of Hawk­ing and oth­er physi­cists’ the­o­ry, Tia Ghose at Live Sci­ence writes, “black holes may sport a lux­u­ri­ous head of ‘hair’ made up of ghost­ly, zero-ener­gy par­ti­cles.” These “hairs” may store quan­tum infor­ma­tion that would oth­er­wise be lost for­ev­er. In the sec­ond part of his lec­ture, Hawk­ing will expand on his the­o­ry of black hole radi­a­tion. Get a brief sum­ma­ry of that the­o­ry in the video clip above, and watch this space for Hawk­ing’s sure-to-be-enlight­en­ing black hole lec­tures.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Online Physics Cours­es

Bertrand Rus­sell & Oth­er Big Thinkers in BBC Lec­ture Series (Free)

The Big Ideas of Stephen Hawk­ing Explained with Sim­ple Ani­ma­tion

Watch A Brief His­to­ry of Time, Errol Mor­ris’ Film About the Life & Work of Stephen Hawk­ing

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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