Mental Floss

Watch Paul Rudd and Stephen Hawking Play an Intense Game of Quantum Chess

Andrew LaSane

For a recent video project titled Anyone Can Quantum, Caltech's Institute for Quantum Information and Matter teamed up with Trouper Productions to present a Quantum Chess match between two unlikely opponents: theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and actor Paul Rudd. (Oh yeah, and Keanu Reeves narrates.)

As if chess itself wasn't complex enough, Quantum Chess is a variation of the classic game that incorporates—you guessed it—quantum physics. Invented by Selim Akl, a professor at the Queen's School of Computing in Ontario, Canada, the game can not be explained simply, even to those who have a pretty good understanding of conventional chess. (But you can take a crack at comprehending the basics.) As serious as the game sounds, neither Hawking nor Rudd seem to take their match too seriously.

As the YouTube description reads, "The game is real and the stakes are high as the future of humanity hangs in the balance." Hawking trash talks Rudd about taking him down, while Rudd uses self-referential humor, pretends to study the science, and puts on his best nervous face as he tries to go toe-to-toe with the genius. We won't spoil the ending for you, but look out for a special cameo and prepare to choose a side.

[h/t: Mashable]