A Brief History of Time

Director: Errol Morris
Screenwriters: Stephen Hawking

Institute History


Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned physicist, has been responsible for unlocking some of the universe’s most precious secrets. His brilliant and uncanny mind is often compared to the greatest in history, including those of Einstein and Newton. Hawking’s theories conjure up the “unfathomable”—the moment before the universe, space, or even time existed, and on into a godless, absolute void. Yet he possesses the extraordinary ability to translate his mind-boggling, multidimensional mathematical concepts into a broadly understandable language, and do all this despite his extreme physical disability due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Errol Morris’s boldly provocative new documentary, A Brief History of Time, illustrates those theories closest to Hawking’s heart, which are also described in his best-selling book of the same name: the beginnings of the cosmos, real and imaginary time, black holes, and, ultimately, why the universe exists. Morris counterpoints Hawking’s descriptive theories of the universe as the product of a series of chaotic, tenuous, chance operations against Hawking’s own personal history, an equally tenuous journey in which his recognized talents might have gone unfulfilled had he been left to his own devices. Through interviews with his mother and colleagues, A Brief History of Time reveals a Hawking who, prior to his diagnosis and marriage, was an inquisitive individual, but one disinterested in his studies and apathetic about his future. Indeed it was chance events that provided Hawking with the focus to recognize his passion.

A Brief History of Time is a breathtakingly remarkable film, perfectly atuned to Hawking’s character, and it records him in a most appropriate manner. Through his book, his legacy, and certainly this film, Stephen Hawking has given the world, and its future generations, a stimulating impression of science which will undoubtedly generate excitement, thereby tapping the potential in the minds of other young individuals.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards


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