Explaining the principles that control our universe through simple experiments.

The Ask

The world’s foremost authority on science, Dr. Stephen Hawking, and his publisher, Penguin Random House, sought to translate his best-selling books, A Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell, into an interactive and educational mobile application that makes the laws of time and space not only accessible, but engaging and fun.

Science made simple, relatively speaking…

The Actualization

With Smashing’s history of being the first digital agency to bring ebooks to market, it was a natural fit to translate Dr. Stephen Hawkings’ complex laws of the universe into a not only accessible, but actively engaging, digital experience. By taking an “easy to use, difficult to master” approach, we took our extensive history in game design and used it as our North Star during development because causal games appeal to kids and adults alike. We applied game mechanics like “mastery” to motivate users to master scientific concepts. Visuals were distilled down to an infographic style to add clarity to the content, as well as to make the app more relevant an appealing to a general audience.
The phenomena surroundings how planets stay in orbit, the evolution of a star, the relativity of time, etc., was distilled into 10 highly interactive and engaging digital experiments.

“This app provides a great opportunity to introduce Professor Hawking’s teachings to a whole new audience, through an entirely new medium.”

-Scott Shannon, Sr. VP and Publisher of Digital Content, Penguin Random House

The Accolades
  • Working with Dr. Hawking of course!
  • Apple’s Best Apps of 2014
  • Tunes Editor’s Choice, December 2013
  • iTunes Featured App in the Education category
  • eSchool News App of the Week
  • 4 star rating on iTunes
  • Downloaded in over 90 countries


  • Ideation
  • UX Design
  • Visual Design
  • Unity Development
  • Motivational UX™
  • QA
  • Analytics

Ready to launch?

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