BBC: The Reith Lectures


The Reith Lectures

Cognitive and BBC collaboration

About our partners

Each year, the BBC invites a leading figure to give a series of lectures on radio. In 2015, Professor Stephen Hawking delivered two lectures on the nature of black holes. In the first of these lectures, he shows us how weird black holes are – and how they are beyond ‘science fiction’ weird. We meet some of the heroes of black hole research, such as Stephen Wheeler and discover why the French didn’t like the term ‘black hole’. Packed with handy tips like why it’s better to fall into a super-massive black hole than a smaller one, this is a romp through space-time which shows us how black holes challenge the predictability of the universe and the certainty of history.

The film

Does falling into a black hole mean that you will be forever imprisoned within, or is there some way out? In his second Reith Lecture Professor Stephen Hawking takes us deep into the heart of black hole research. He shows us the paradoxical nature of black holes and why not being able to see what’s in them is so important. He reveals why, if information is truly lost in a black hole, the ramifications are disastrous for science itself and for the way we view the world. We then discover how truly weird things can get as he brings us back from the brink of chaos via Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and Richard Feynman’s theory of multiple possible histories. So strap your brain in for a true intellectual fun ride.

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