The Theory of Everything

February 6, 2015

In this ever-expanding episode, Andrew, Laura and Ben talk about the Oscar-nominated film The Theory of Everything.

We grapple with Stephen Hawking's concepts of time, the universe and everything, and ask whether the film finds a happy balance between relationship drama and science communication.

To help explain some of Hawking's theories, we hear from Achintya Rao and Subodh Patil who work at CERN, and know much more about theoretical physics than we ever will. They discuss the search for a unifying theory of physics, Hawking Radiation, Imaginary Time, and other mind-bending ideas.


Andrew and Laura talk about wanting more theory and less everything; Ben gets excited about virtual particles, and wonders about the why Emily Watson and Maxine Peake weren't give a bit more to do. We also compare the film to Hawking, the 2004 BBC dramatisation of Stephen Hawking's early years at Cambridge which features previous Shed interviewee Benedict Cumberbatch. 

Stay tuned until the end of the episode for a very special piece of audio, recorded by Achintya in 2010.




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Show notes


Solar system-sized thanks to Marie for the new (and glowingly beautiful) addition to the Shed's interior...


Hawking, the 2004 BBC film, is available on DVD and to stream on Amazon Instant Video.

A Brief History of Time, the 1991 documentary directed by Errol Morris, is very difficult to track down in the UK, but is avaialble on DVD/Blu-ray in the USA. There's a nice, in-depth interview about the film with Errol Morris at The Dissolve.

The clip from John Oliver Tonight can be found on YouTube, courtesy of HBO.

The PBS series Stephen Hawking's Universe is available on DVD/Blu-ray, and the Channel 4 documentary Hawking is free to stream at 4OD

Einstein's Nightmare, the two-part BBC series on Quantum Theory is not currently available, sadly.