Three ordinary people a series of fun physical and mental challenges to show them how to think like a genius. Can they measure the earth, the solar system and even the universe and find out where we really are?
We are introduced to Foucault’s pendulum. Moving under the influence of gravity, over the course of a day the pendulum’s direction of swing will move, a bit like the hands of a clock. But what was the source of the rotation?
The volunteers are given scale models of the moon and Earth. They must guess the distance between the two and then work out how to find out the correct answer. They use the moon in the sky to find the distance between their two models.
The volunteers tackle their next challenge: If we could fit our galaxy on a smart phone and Andromeda on a tablet, how far apart would they be? They work out how far away the two galaxies are from each other with some simple math and can visually see how far the nearest galaxy is to our Milky Way.
Three ordinary people take on challenges to try to understand what they really are. In this episode the volunteers are led to an amazing realization about the nature of life itself.
The volunteers start Stephen Hawking’s Machine of Life. The machine works by transferring an impulse from one place to another, sustained by the input of energy. Each moving part follows the laws of physics and together they keep the impulse moving.
Two of the volunteers make shapes of their choice while the third flings them off the top of the tower to see which will get closest to the target. As they re-make the best performing shapes we see how the winning features are passed onto the next generation.
The volunteers are given magnets and an energy source to see how complex molecules can form almost at random with just a bit of energy. We learn that the building blocks of life can appear seemingly out of nowhere if the correct conditions are present.
Join Stephen Hawking as he challenges three ordinary people to work out where the universe came from. Hawking leads the trio on an extraordinary journey of discovery featuring racing cars, ice-skaters, balloons and running tracks. #HawkingGeniusPBS
Stephen Hawking and Neil Turok introduce us to Einstein’s idea of a static universe. The volunteers arrive at a drag strip with an electric car ready to go. They must use the sound of the siren, a microphone and laptop to determine the speed and direction of the car. How fast will the car go and what can it tell them about our universe?
The volunteers must organize a special race mimicking the movement of galaxies in space. They must arrange the "galaxies" in order to start the race, but they don’t all start form the same point. They are surprised to see that some of the galaxies walk and some run very fast. This demonstrates that the galaxies furthest away from Earth are also the ones traveling the fastest.
The volunteers take to the ice to find a way to use the balloons and leaf blowers to re-create how the galaxies are moving. They recruit the help of a team of hokey players and discover that the players further away from the centre are moving away faster. What does this tell them about the expansion of the universe?
Join Stephen Hawking as he sets three ordinary people a truly mind-bending challenge: Can they work out why they exist at all? Hawking takes them down a rabbit hole of profound realizations, helping them think like philosophers as much as scientists. #HawkingGeniusPBS
The volunteers need to think like scientists to make the perfect cocktail. They are presented with a cocktail glass on a pedestal and they must use a pendulum to complete the cocktail with an single olive without touching the glass.
The volunteers enter a dining room to see floating plates of food in front of them. The plates are floating above the table with no means of support that can be seen. Can they work out why and how the plates of food are magically floating?
The volunteers gather in front of the castle and one places EEG equipment on his head. His brain signals can be seen projected onto the side of the castle. The EEG specialist explains how they change when a decision is made and how they can complete the Libet Experiment. What do they see when they press the red button and what will it tell them about the brain when they make a decision?
Have we actively chosen the outcomes of our lives or have they been pre-determined? The volunteers are joined by their doppelgangers to help them demonstrate that the realms of possible realities is vast.
Join Professor Hawking as he challenges three ordinary people to work out the likelihood of alien life out there in the universe. See why the team has their minds blown in a way they were never expecting.
Stephen Hawking explains that he believes that we’ll encounter aliens in our lifetime and that the mathematics predicts it. He sends the three volunteers to see one of the largest radio telescopes in the world. It can be used to listen for signs of life in the universe.
Using an equalizer and megaphone alone, the volunteers must work out how to simulate a message from deep space. With the loud static blasting through the speakers, they must work out how isolate only the channel which is broadcasting the message from intelligent life.