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Arts & Culture

GENIUS BY STEPHEN HAWKING: Where Did The Universe Come From?

Paul, Alejandro and Marcia wearing their racing kit at Santa Pod after Demo 2. They have been drag racing to look at the Doppler effect and how sound and light waves are similar.
Courtesy of Freya Williams / Bigger Bang Communications
Paul, Alejandro and Marcia wearing their racing kit at Santa Pod after Demo 2. They have been drag racing to look at the Doppler effect and how sound and light waves are similar.

Airs Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

In each of six episodes, renowned scientist Stephen Hawking presents three ordinary people with a series of physical and mental challenges to show them how to think like a genius. GENIUS BY STEPHEN HAWKING will air on PBS Wednesdays, May 18-June 1, 2016.

“Do you need to be a genius to answer the big questions?” said Prof. Stephen Hawking. “I’m very pleased to be back on the air for PBS and National Geographic International with GENIUS – a project that furthers my lifelong aim to bring science to the public. It’s a fun show that tries to find out if ordinary people are smart enough to think like the greatest minds who ever lived. Being an optimist, I think they will.”

The racing car used by the volunteers at Santa Pod in Demo 2. This drag car had a siren attached to the top of it to look at how the sound waves changed when traveling at high speeds.
Courtesy of Freya Williams / Bigger Bang Communications
The racing car used by the volunteers at Santa Pod in Demo 2. This drag car had a siren attached to the top of it to look at how the sound waves changed when traveling at high speeds.
Paul, Marcia and Alejandro wearing their ice hockey kit after Demo 4. The volunteers have just taken part in a demonstration looking at the expanding universe. They have worked with an ice hockey team, leaf blowers and balloons to figure this challenge out.
Courtesy of Freya Williams / Bigger Bang Communications
Paul, Marcia and Alejandro wearing their ice hockey kit after Demo 4. The volunteers have just taken part in a demonstration looking at the expanding universe. They have worked with an ice hockey team, leaf blowers and balloons to figure this challenge out.

Through the use of large-scale experiments and remarkable demonstrations, the program decodes the mysteries of evolutionary biology, astrophysics and quantum mechanics, solving questions like “Why am I here?,” “Are we alone?” and “Can we travel through time?” Each episode features three people with curious minds who must use their own intellect to learn what humanity’s most notable thinkers have discovered about the greatest scientific mysteries over the centuries.

GENIUS takes its participants (and viewers at home) back in time – to ancient Greece, where Eratosthenes calculated the Earth’s circumference – and to more recent history and such thinkers as Edward Hubble, who uncovered and established the distances between our planet and the vast galaxies throughout the universe.

Episode 4: “Where Did The Universe Come From?” airs Wednesday, May 25 at 10 p.m. - 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.

Stephen Hawking is on Facebook. Video clips and episodes from this series are available for online viewing.

GENIUS BY STEPHEN HAWKING is produced by Bigger Bang, which also produced the science films “Hubble’s Cosmic Journey” and “Mission Pluto” for PBS and National Geographic Channels International. Bigger Bang’s Ben Bowie and Iain Riddick serve as the series’ executive producers.