A Brief History of Time


Science on Screen is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  

Celebrate the incredible life and legacy of the late theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking at a special Science on Screen presentation of Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris’ acclaimed 1991 documentary, A Brief History of Time.   This screening will feature an introduction by Samuel E. Gralla, assistant professor of physics and core faculty in the theoretical astrophysics program at the  University of Arizona, who will discuss Hawking’s contributions to science and culture.

A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Stephen Hawking Foundation, which facilitates research into Cosmology, Astrophysics and Fundamental Particle Physics both at school and university levels. It also facilitates and supports work relating to Motor Neurone Disease and those living with the disease.

“Dazzling! A film that is genuinely mind-expanding, an exhilarating intellectual gantlet that tells a remarkable human story.” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris (The Fog of War) turns his camera on one of the most fascinating men in the world: the pioneering astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, living with a debilitating motor neuron disease that has left him without a voice of the use of his limbs.   A beautifully-crafted tale of personal adversity, professional triumph, and cosmological inquiry, Morris’ documentary examines the way the collapse of Hawking’s body has been accompanied by the untrammeled broadening of his imagination.   Telling the man’s incredible story through the voices of his colleagues and loved ones, while making dynamically accessible some of the the theories in Hawking’s best-selling book of the same name, A Brief History of Time is at once as small as a single life and as big as the ever-expanding universe. (Dir by Errol Morris, 1991, USA, 84 mins., Not Rated)

Samuel E. Gralla is an assistant professor of physics and core faculty in the theoretical astrophysics program at the University of Arizona.  His work focuses on the theory of strong gravitational and electromagnetic fields, as occur near black holes and neutron stars.  While most of his research is astrophysically motivated, he occasionally ventures into more theoretical territory like black hole thermodynamics.  

Science on Screen creatively pairs screenings of classic, cult, science fiction, and documentary films with lively presentations by notable experts from the world of science and technology. Each film is used as a jumping-off point for a speaker to introduce current research or technological advances in a manner that engages popular culture audiences.