Commander Stephen Hawking pilots his space ship the SS Hawking on the journey of a lifetime, zooming from black holes to the Big Bang, Saturn to Santa Barbara. After all, why should astronauts have all the fun?

Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 26 minutes

Premier: 2016-09-22

Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places - Theory of everything - Netflix

A theory of everything (ToE), final theory, ultimate theory, or master theory is a hypothetical single, all-encompassing, coherent theoretical framework of physics that fully explains and links together all physical aspects of the universe. Finding a ToE is one of the major unsolved problems in physics. Over the past few centuries, two theoretical frameworks have been developed that, as a whole, most closely resemble a ToE. These two theories upon which all modern physics rests are general relativity (GR) and quantum field theory (QFT). GR is a theoretical framework that only focuses on gravity for understanding the universe in regions of both large scale and high mass: stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, etc. On the other hand, QFT is a theoretical framework that only focuses on three non-gravitational forces for understanding the universe in regions of both small scale and low mass: sub-atomic particles, atoms, molecules, etc. QFT successfully implemented the Standard Model and unified the interactions (so-called Grand Unified Theory) between the three non-gravitational forces: weak, strong, and electromagnetic force. Through years of research, physicists have experimentally confirmed with tremendous accuracy virtually every prediction made by these two theories when in their appropriate domains of applicability. In accordance with their findings, scientists also learned that GR and QFT, as they are currently formulated, are mutually incompatible – they cannot both be right. Since the usual domains of applicability of GR and QFT are so different, most situations require that only one of the two theories be used. As it turns out, this incompatibility between GR and QFT is apparently only an issue in regions of extremely small scale and high mass, such as those that exist within a black hole or during the beginning stages of the universe (i.e., the moment immediately following the Big Bang). To resolve this conflict, a theoretical framework revealing a deeper underlying reality, unifying gravity with the other three interactions, must be discovered to harmoniously integrate the realms of GR and QFT into a seamless whole: a single theory that, in principle, is capable of describing all phenomena. In pursuit of this goal, quantum gravity has become an area of active research. Eventually the string theory has evolved into a candidate for the ultimate theory of the universe, not without drawbacks and controversy. String theory posits that at the beginning of the universe (up to 10−43 seconds after the Big Bang), the four fundamental forces were once a single fundamental force. According to string theory, every particle in the universe, at its most microscopic level (Planck length), consists of varying combinations of vibrating strings (or strands) with preferred patterns of vibration. String theory further claims that it is through these specific oscillatory patterns of strings that a particle of unique mass and force charge is created (that is to say, the electron is a type of string that vibrates one way, while the up quark is a type of string vibrating another way, and so forth).

Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places - Twentieth century and the nuclear interactions - Netflix

In the twentieth century, the search for a unifying theory was interrupted by the discovery of the strong and weak nuclear forces (or interactions), which differ both from gravity and from electromagnetism. A further hurdle was the acceptance that in a ToE, quantum mechanics had to be incorporated from the start, rather than emerging as a consequence of a deterministic unified theory, as Einstein had hoped. Gravity and electromagnetism could always peacefully coexist as entries in a list of classical forces, but for many years it seemed that gravity could not even be incorporated into the quantum framework, let alone unified with the other fundamental forces. For this reason, work on unification, for much of the twentieth century, focused on understanding the three “quantum” forces: electromagnetism and the weak and strong forces. The first two were combined in 1967–68 by Sheldon Glashow, Steven Weinberg, and Abdus Salam into the “electroweak” force. Electroweak unification is a broken symmetry: the electromagnetic and weak forces appear distinct at low energies because the particles carrying the weak force, the W and Z bosons, have non-zero masses of 80.4 GeV/c2 and 91.2 GeV/c2, whereas the photon, which carries the electromagnetic force, is massless. At higher energies Ws and Zs can be created easily and the unified nature of the force becomes apparent. While the strong and electroweak forces peacefully coexist in the Standard Model of particle physics, they remain distinct. So far, the quest for a theory of everything is thus unsuccessful on two points: neither a unification of the strong and electroweak forces – which Laplace would have called 'contact forces' – nor a unification of these forces with gravitation has been achieved.

Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places - References - Netflix