As a companion to its announcement yesterday about new evidence supporting the Big Bang Theory, Stanford put out a YouTube video of the exact moment that physicist Andrei Linde, whose cosmic inflation theory essentially predicted the Big Bang, found out his amazing contributions to science were validated. In the video, fellow Stanford physicist Chao-Lin Kuo goes to Linde’s home to drop the news. It’s both touching and marketing genius, as you can see below.
Stanford has a small production team at the ready to capture and share moments just like this, Bjorn Carey, Stanford’s science information officer told The Atlantic’s Megan Garber. “We have a small team, and we produce news videos for a lot of the stories that we do,” he said.
Still, the Big Bang news presented a unique opportunity for Stanford. Kuo happened to approach Carey before he had told his research partner–Linde–the findings. “But this was really a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Maybe you top it with a flying car or something like that, but we don’t normally get to just tag along and be there when someone tells a world-renowned physicist that the theories he’s been sitting on for 30 years are most likely right.”
Putting a heartwarming human face (read: adorable grandfatherly type with a Russian accent) behind an incredible scientific feat made for a perfect viral storm. As of this writing, the video has over 740,000 views–pretty impressive considering it includes absolutely zero Justin Biebers, sneezing pandas, or laughing babies.