Stephen Hawking: Master of the Universe

3/03/2008

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Professor Stephen Hawking will take viewers on a journey through the Universe to explore the mysteries of physics in a new series on Channel 4 this week.

Stephen Hawking: Master of the Universe, looks at how Professor Hawking overcame a life-threatening diagnosis to become the most famous physicist alive and, alongside other leading cosmologists, continues to introduce scientific ideas that weren’t even imagined two decades ago.

The series will deal with Hawking’s quest for a ‘Theory of Everything’, which could explain everything from the unimaginably vast scale of supernovae, black holes and dark matter, to the infinitesimally small sub-atomic world where quantum effects mean anything is possible.

“How can we understand the Universe? Is it arbitrary, or is there a grand design? Do we still need a God? Twenty years on, my need to find answers to the fundamental questions about our existence, is undiminished,” Professor Hawking said.

“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?”

Professor Hawking will also be charting the cutting edge of physics, including ideas such as String Theory and Supersymmetry, which have seen extra dimensions and the idea of a multiverse move into the mainstream of scientific debate.

In this context, the series will explore how our perspective on human life is changing, as the view of our planet shifts to a tiny part of an infinite number of universes existing in multiple dimensions.

“We once thought we were at the centre of the Universe. Then we thought the sun was. Eventually, we realised we were just on the edge of one of billions of galaxies. Soon we may have to humbly accept that our 3D universe is just one of many multi-dimensional worlds,” Hawking said.

But he believes that mankind may still have a long way to go to fully understand the Universe, “During my lifetime we have discovered many of the laws that govern the Universe, but we don’t yet understand how they all fit together, or why they seem to be finely adjusted to allow life.”

He warns that the clock is ticking for us to address the future of life: “I think we are acting with reckless indifference to our future on Planet Earth. At the moment, we have nowhere else to go, but in the long run the human race shouldn’t have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. I just hope we can avoid dropping the basket until then.”

Professor Hawking will also talk about overcoming physical limitations to succeed: “I was unlucky to get Motor Neurone disease but lucky in almost everything else, I have three very attractive children, success in my scientific work and a real sense of satisfaction at having achieved all of this despite the difficulties. Not many people can say this.”

Stephen Hawking: Master of the Universe will be shown on Channel 4 tonight (Monday 3 March) and  next Monday (10 March) at 9.00pm.

Professor Stephen Hawking's website

Channel 4


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Reproduced courtesy University of Cambridge Office of Communications


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