If there is a pantheon for great minds, Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein would undoubtedly qualify for membership. Their remarkable theories were transformative in the world of physics, and both are lauded as luminaries across the world.
On Sunday, a new 2-hour program will delve into the fascinating work of Hawking and Einstein, how their ideas are connected, and what that fruitful pondering means for modern physics.
"Einstein and Hawking: Unlocking The Universe" premieres March 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the Science Channel. The program will also re-air on March 14, which is the first anniversary of Hawking's death and Einstein's 140th birthday.
Hawking looked at the laws that govern the universe, from the tiny to the gargantuan. He studied both quantum mechanics — a branch of physics that describes what happens at the subatomic level — and also pored over Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. In the realm of very large objects (planets, stars, black holes, etc.) bodies have enough mass to bend the fabric of space-time, according to general relativity.
Earlier in his career, Hawking worked on the conundrum that these theories presented: The laws that govern the small aren't applicable to large-scale reality, and vice versa.
Throughout his life and up until his death at age 76, Hawking published new work.
A newly released clip from the documentary touches on one of his final ideas, which tackles the physics occurring at the edges of black holes and the "information paradox." This region of black holes bridges the gap between relativity, which describes large-scale behavior, and quantum mechanics, which describes the small. The clip's narrator calls a series of papers on this concept "Hawking's last great idea."
American physicists Rai Weiss, Kip Thorne and others will be featured on Sunday's show. Weiss and Thorne are Nobel Prize winners whose team designed a massive structure — the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) — that made the first-ever direct detection of gravitational waves as they moved through Earth. The 2015 observations ushered in a whole new era of gravitational-wave astronomy.
"Einstein and Hawking: Unlocking The Universe" is produced by the BBC for the Science Channel. Steve Crabtree was the executive producer for the BBC, and Wyatt Channell was the executive producer for the Science Channel. The program's director is Michael Lachmann.
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