Instant Genius is a bite-sized masterclass in podcast form. And in this episode, we're exploring the origins of the Universe.

When the University of Leuven professor of theoretical physics Thomas Hertog first met famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking he found himself confronted with two questions: “Why is the Universe the way it is? Why are we here?”. The two would go on to seek answers to these profound questions during a close collaboration that lasted for twenty years.

Prof Hertog tells us about his time working with Hawking, his new book, On the Origin of Time, and the path that led the two of them to hit upon the revolutionary new theory that the laws of physics are born and evolve as the Universe they govern takes shape.

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Jason Goodyer
Jason GoodyerCommissioning editor, BBC Science Focus

Jason is the commissioning editor for BBC Science Focus. He holds an MSc in physics and was named Section Editor of the Year by the British Society of Magazine Editors in 2019. He has been reporting on science and technology for more than a decade. During this time, he's walked the tunnels of the Large Hadron Collider, watched Stephen Hawking deliver his Reith Lecture on Black Holes and reported on everything from simulation universes to dancing cockatoos. He looks after the magazine’s and website’s news sections and makes regular appearances on the Instant Genius Podcast.