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Monday, April 26, 2010

Stephen Hawking and Aliens

I saw the first few episodes of the Stephen Hawking Discovery Channel series on the Universe . One of the things he has received much publicity about is his advice not to talk to aliens. I have an academic background and still strong interest in astrophysics. Watching this series provides an introduction to the implications of recent, and not so recent, discoveries in astrophysics.

Overall well done. He provided a good view into the paradoxes of time travel and the potential of using relativistic physics to solve at least the problem of future time travel. He is less clear about the huge difficulties behind any of the solutions he proposes. Difficulties of distances to be traveled and energy required. This reminded me of Sagan's series, which positioned the enormity of the universe, yet Hawking is more engineering minded and less spiritual. Some of the individual pieces are available on the Discovery Channel site.

The animation was quite good, though I worry about separation between visualizations of what are actually supported findings and broad clever generalizations. Worth seeing.

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