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A Brief History Of Time

A Brief History Of Time

By Patrick Samuel • June 3rd, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME (DOCUMENTARY)
Amblin Entertainment / Channel Four Films

Original release: October 16th, 1992
Running time: 80 minutes

Director: Errol Morris
Composer: Philip Glass

Cast: Stephen Hawking, Isobel Hawking, Janet Humphrey, Mary Hawking

A Brief History Of Time

“Did the universe have a beginning and if so, what happened before then? Where did the universe come from, and where is it going?” ~ Stephen Hawking

There was a time when I didn’t think very much about what was “out there”. As a kid I remember looking up at the stars at night and asking my mother what keeps them up in the air. Will I ever be able to reach them and how long it would take for me to get to them?

Because she didn’t really know the answer she told me not to think about such things or else I’d go insane, and so for a long time I was happy not to think about anything other than my little life, my school work and the things I had to get done at home. Eventually though this wasn’t enough; my curiosity was getting the better of me during my teenage years, and risking insanity I wanted to know more about concepts like time, gravity and how the universe worked so I picked up a copy of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History Of Time at a bookshop and the world I thought I once knew became something even more fascinating and baffling.

Hawking, a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author, has since then opened me up to that genre of non-fiction known as popular science and his theorems on gravitational singularities in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes should emit radiation, are just two examples of complex ideas that have been accessible to even novices like me.

A Brief History Of Time

This documentary from 1991, directed by Errol Morris and with a musical score by Philip Glass, is more a film about Hawking than it is about his landmark book. Including clips from his lectures, interviews with friends and family and a splicing of physics here and there, it forms a story about one man’s remarkable life and his achievements despite suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis which has now left him completely paralysed.

Isobel Hawking takes us back to 1942, the year her son was born. She tells about the time they lived in North London and the falling bombs during World War II. Interspersed with these stories are questions from Hawking about things many of us take for granted, but which he’s pondered deeply over the years and as a result has A Brief History Of Timebeen able to offer theories that have resonated strongly in the physics community for decades, and continue to do so.

We also hear from family friends Janet Humphrey, Basil King and Hawking’s former professor as we learn more about what he was like a student. Hawking also tells us about these early times when he wanted to know how the universe began. It’s through these warm and enlightening stories that we see the man and the mind as one. The documentary is full of warmth as those who know him talk about him lovingly and admirably, making for a humbling experience, especially as the discussion comes around to his illness and how he communicates through a speech generating device.

Along with Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton and Brian Greene, Hawking’s helped me understand why I find the universe so fascinating and baffling. Though they may not have all the answers, their questions about the nature of things is probably the thing that stimulates my imagination the most. A Brief History Of Time should be seen by anyone who feels they’re ready ask those questions too, and I promise you, you won’t go insane.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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