What's at the center of a black hole? And what happens at the edge of a black hole?

Stephen Hawking has some big ideas that answer these big questions. Called one of the most influential physicists of our time, you might assume that his theories are too complicated for the layperson to wrap his or her mind around.

But in some ways, his ideas are easier to understand than you might think. Through animation and narration, The Guardian's science correspondent Alok Jha explains them all in a two-and-half-minute cartoon in a way that everyone can easily grasp. Check it out above.

And why give Hawking's theories the cartoon treatment?

"I suppose the incredible thing is that he came up with all these profound, provocative insights without the convenience of being able to write anything down," Jha says in the video. Hawking, who authored A Brief History of Time, is paralyzed as a result of motor neuron disease.

[H/T The Guardian]

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  • Stephen Hawking's Great Quotes

    People who boast about their IQ are losers.

  • My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.

  • I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I'm an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.

  • I think computer viruses should count as life ... I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image.

  • We are so insignificant that I can't believe the whole universe exists for our benefit. That would be like saying that you would disappear if I closed my eyes.

  • We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.

  • What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary.