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Stephen Hawking’s Universe

I’ve just (17 November 2010) watched this Channel 4 series, having waited until I’d collected all three episodes. These are entitled Aliens, Time Travel and The Story of Everything.

The programme on the possibility/probability of life having occurred elsewhere in the Universe and the possibility of detecting and/or contacting other life-forms was interesting. The one on time travel was, I felt, rather a waste of airtime and resources - though maybe not for an audience unfamiliar with the implications of Relativity.

The third - a two-hour programme following the previous two one-hour episodes - was something else altogether: a clear, coherent account of our current understanding of the origin, development, likely future and possible end of the Universe. The language was kept simple, and I feel that this programme would be understandable to most of the people who are likely to be interested in its subject.

The presentation, with each section introduced by Hawking using his very familiar speech-synthesis system but fading into the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch, uses high-quality computer graphics to simulate the events described, making the watching experience highly entertaining as well as very informative. I was relieved that there was no mention of the latest theories - apart from Dark Energy - such as those around strings and membranes, although Hawking does introduce us to the idea of the Multiverse.

Great stuff from one of the truly great minds of our time.

Personal site for Paul Marsden: frustrated writer; experimental cook and all-round foodie; amateur wine-importer; former copywriter and press-officer; former teacher, teacher-trainer, educational software developer and documenter; still a professional web-developer but mostly retired.

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