Into the mind of Hawking

Into the mind of Hawking

The British scientist explores key mysteries of the universe in a new TV series


Into the mind of Hawking_L
Photos: Discovery Channel
Mysteries surrounding the universe have fascinated people for centuries. In a new television series, the world's leading scientist, Stephen Hawking, puts the spotlight on aliens, time travel and how it will all end, among others, raising a few eyebrows in the process.

Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking is a two-part series based on the Cambridge University professor's theories. The series uses stunning computer-generated images to give audiences the ultimate guide to the universe. The script is narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, who played the young scientist in the 2004 BBC documentary Hawking.

Into the Universe made headlines around the world earlier this year. In the show, Hawking warns aliens may exist and mankind should avoid contact with them. He also says our only chance of long-term survival is to spread out into space, because we face a terrifying array of new threats.

The first part of Into the Universe consists of two episodes. In the first episode, Hawking explores the possibility of alien life, travelling from the moons of Jupiter to a galaxy that may not be too far away. It will give viewers a chance to assess the likelihood of future contact with aliens and how they could look. The second episode revolves around a favourite scientific topic - the possibilities of time travel, and the benefits and pitfalls of a technology that could change everything.

In the second part, Hawking provides an insight into his thoughts about the birth of the universe, how it creates stars, black holes and life - and how everything will end.

The idea of producing a TV programme about the universe came up in early 2007. John Smithson, executive producer of the series, and producer Ben Bowie were asked to suggest someone who could provide answers to the big cosmic questions. They immediately thought of Hawking.

'The first part was easy ... Dr Hawking, hands down, was the man for the job,' said Smithson. 'The hard part was gathering the courage to pitch the show and [deciding] where to begin answering the big cosmic questions of our universe.'

As for the complex topics, the production crew had to depend solely on Hawking's brilliant mind and imagination. They would sit with the scientist and go over the script - line by line - and review what had been shot.

'Each one hour of film was actually a five-hour review process since it takes Stephen time to compose his thoughts and have them come out on the computer,' Bowie said.

'No films existed of what we were trying to illustrate ... no Nasa archives or slides to fall back on so it was a real challenge.'

Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking will be broadcast at 9pm on September 19 and 26 on Discovery Channel. The programme is in English, with Chinese subtitles.

Junior Reporters, check out here for your chance to cover the preview for the show

Preview pictures from the show



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