An even briefer history of time


We’ve been working with the Guardian on the Made Simple series for a while now. Having simplified ‘The Future of Search,’ a look at how we might be navigating the internet in the years to come, and summarised George Monbiot’s empassioned argument for reintroducing megafauna into mainland Europe, we were set our biggest challenge yet: to animate the big ideas of Stephen Hawking. 

Apparently, at the centre of a black hole is something called a singularity, and in a singularity, so much matter is squashed into such a small space that the force of gravity becomes infinite. So what, we wondered, would happen when we tried to squash some of the most profound and complex theories about our cosmos into two and a bit minutes of paper cut-out animation? Would the studio coffee machine explode with the power of a million nuclear bombs? 

Fortunately not. But the project did leave giant vacuum in our paper supplies – so while we go and restock in time for the next Made Simple, spend a couple of minutes making yourself feel intelligent.

Big thanks to Alok Jha, the Guardian science correspondent, for writing and narrating an elegant and accessible summary that we came quite close to fully understanding. Thanks also to all the people that tweeted their appreciation of our efforts, and those that took the time to post articles about the project. One such write-up, by Maria Popova of the magnificent Brain Pickings website, made us particularly happy:

"Legendary theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking is among the greatest scientific minds in human history. In this charming animation for The Guardian’s Made Simple series, UK-based animation studio Scriberia — who also made the wonderful trailer for Oliver Burkeman’s Antidote — condenses Hawking’s expansive, mind-bending theories down to 150 seconds. Reminiscent in spirit of the RSA animations, though much better-executed creatively, the short video is the visual equivalent of the art of the soundbite."


Hello, World!