Celebrating ‘A Brief History Of Time’ With Cocktails, Physics, And Poetry

For the 30th anniversary of ‘A Brief History of Time,’ SciFri threw a party.

two people on stage laughing and talking into mics
SciFri Book Club organizer Christie Taylor and host Rachel Bouton. Credit: Daniel Peterschmidt

illustrated stack of books with text "scifri book club"This story is part of our summer Book Club conversation about Stephen Hawking’s 1988 book ‘A Brief History of Time.’ Want to participate? Sign up for our newsletter or call our special voicemail at 567-243-2456.


In 2009, Stephen Hawking decided to throw a party for time travelers, famously sending the invitations after the date of the party. For the 30th anniversary of Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, the SciFri Book Club decided to throw our own party—a Time Traveler Cocktail Party, live at Caveat in New York City!

We had hands-on physics demonstrations, built 2018 time capsules, and heard conversations about black holes, gravity and the fabric of our universe with Ryan Mandelbaum (Gizmodo), Rae Paoletta, and physicist Jillian Bellovary (American Museum of Natural History). We also revealed the winning art commissioned as part of a contest challenging artists all over the world to interpret Stephen Hawking’s vivid depictions of the universe.

We closed the evening with a poem written by Marie Howe and read by renowned theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin. “Singularity,” by Marie Howe, was originally composed for and performed at The Universe in Verse, a celebration of science through poetry hosted by Janna Levin, and curated by Maria Popova at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn. Check out some highlights from the event below!

Physicist Jillian Bellovary and science writer Ryan Mandelbaum. Credit: Daniel Peterschmidt
two people standing in front of an ipad taking a photo with a black hole constructed from hula hoop and fabric
Digital managing editor Brandon Echter helps a time traveler take a black hole selfie. Credit: Daniel Peterschmidt
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Time travlers gather ’round. Credit: Daniel Peterschmidt

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Meet the Writers

About Johanna Mayer

Johanna Mayer is a digital producer at Science Friday. When she’s not working, she’s probably baking a fruit pie. Cherry’s her specialty, but she whips up a mean rhubarb streusel as well.

About Daniel Peterschmidt

Daniel Peterschmidt is a digital producer and composes music for Science Friday’s podcast, Undiscovered. His D&D character is a clumsy bard named Chip Chap Chopman.

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