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How the Universe Works: Stephen Hawking’s Theory of Everything, Animated in 150 Seconds | Brain Pickings

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Happy Birthday, Stephen Hawking!

I love it!

A Brief History of Time in no time at all:

Legendary theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking is among the greatest scientific minds in human history. In this charming animation for The Guardian’s MadeSimple series, UK-based animation studio Scriberia — who also made the wonderful trailer for Oliver Burkeman’s Antidote — condenses Hawking’s expansive, mind-bending theories down to 150 seconds. Reminiscent in spirit of the RSA animations, though much better-executed creatively, the short video is the visual equivalent of the art of the soundbite.

Memo to self: Watch more RSA animations...

amazing! i'm just watching the first few segments of the video: stephen hawking and the theory of everything.  i love how getting deep into the understanding of anything inevitably leads to the question of god.

stephen hawking says: "my life's work has been to unify the theories of the very large and the very small. only then can we answer the more challenging questions: why are we here? where did we come from?"

earlier in the video he asks: "how can we understand the universe? is it arbitrary, or is there a grand design? do we still need a god?"

then he adds: "twenty years on, my need to find answers to the fundamental questions about our existence is undiminished."

we are lucky to have curious, intelligent minds like hawking's that can teach us all. what a gift!

Those are the really big questions. He's smart enough to explain them in a way I can understand.

What amazes me about him is he makes all his insights just by thinking because he cannot write. Wow!

Maria Popova does question whether it's too much good stuff in 150 seconds:

Though undeniably delightful, I can’t help but wonder whether such quick visual syntheses of the life’s work of boundless genius might be our era’s version of the aphorisms that Susan Sontag worried commodify wisdom. But let’s go with optimism and hope that, rather than exercises in reductionism, formats like this are, as Neil deGrasse Tyson said of the soundbite, triggers for interest which “set a learning path into motion that becomes self-driven.” In other words, let’s hope this gets more people to read A Brief History of Time, one of these seven timeless reads about time.

She makes a good point, but I still plan on watching this video many times.

i agree that it triggers interest rather than simplify genius.

You might enjoy Hawking's TED talk:

I enjoyed reading A Brief History of Time as a book. I think it's the best of his books.

The whole movie is on YouTube:

thank you, adam!  i love fun homework!

Excellent, this homework really makes you think about the universe.

"...he did it all by thought alone."


I see that theme recurring through your comments, Rob.

Imagination is more powerful than...

...lesser imaginations.

A better answer than the one I was thinking of...

Einstein quote imagination is more powerful than

oh albert... that might be your best quote ever!

I think so too. Here's the full quote:

I believe in intuition and inspiration. … At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason. When the eclipse of 1919 confirmed my intuition, I was not in the least surprised. In fact I would have been astonished had it turned out otherwise.Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.

Source: Cosmic Religion : With Other Opinions and Aphorisms (1931) by Albert Einstein, p. 97; also in Transformation : Arts, Communication, Environment (1950) by Harry Holtzman, p. 138. This may be an edited version of some nearly identical quotes from the 1929 Viereck interview.

For more:

thank you, adam!  the full quote is even better than the abbreviated one. :)

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