Decoded • 2013 • episode "11/17" Big History

Category: Math

Secret codes run the world. The code of life, DNA, is the operating system for all organisms, which spawned intelligent life like us who eventually created codes of our own--language that allows us to talk and the alphabet that lets us write.

Big History • 0 • 16 episodes •

Rise of the Carnivores

Eating meat made us giving us bigger brains, better tools, and spoken language. The human need for beef has driven history across the hemispheres, but how did we turn an ancient mega-beast into the cow we have today?

2013 • Nature

Pocket Time Machine

How does the cellphone in your pocket link to the Big Bang, the evolution of human memory, and even the Titanic disaster? Big History reveals how cosmic forces conspired to give us the tool that has revolutionized the planet.

2013 • Nature


Following 161 37 views About Export Add to Water is the miracle molecule, and mankind has used its perfect properties to revolutionize our lives. It was our first superhighway, the lifeblood of civilization, and gives us 90% of all the power we use today.

2013 • Environment

Deadly Meteors

Impacts from space have created our planet and just about everything in it. Like celestial supply ships, they brought in water, metal, and maybe even life. They made our moon and sculpted the geography of our planet.

2013 • Astronomy


Secret codes run the world. The code of life, DNA, is the operating system for all organisms, which spawned intelligent life like us who eventually created codes of our own--language that allows us to talk and the alphabet that lets us write.

2013 • Math

The Sun

The Sun is our master and creator. It gives us our perception of time, controls our reality, and powers our lives. Big History sheds new light on our nearest star, revealing that ancient sun worship intersects with science.

2013 • Astronomy

Mountain Machines

They form natural boundaries, dictate how we spread around the planet, create natural defenses, and control our weather. From the World War that began with a gunshot in the Balkans to the feuds of the Appalachians, mountains have also been flashpoints.

2013 • Environment

Brain Boost

Behind that cup of coffee or tea is a global story that goes back to the collision that created the Moon and the evolution of plant and animal life. The key is the molecule that gives your morning cup its kick: caffeine, the most popular drug in history.

2013 • Health

World of Weapons

Humans have small teeth and no claws or armor, so how do we project our power? Warfare has defined traditional history, but Big History digs deeper to reveal how it all began.

2013 • History

Defeating Gravity

Flight takes more than wings. We need the right kind of air, the perfect materials cooked up over billions of years, and cosmic forces that are just right for us to leave the ground without tumbling off into space.

2013 • Science


Following 161 84 views About Export Add to From the Great Pyramid at Giza to the towering skyscrapers of today, humans have engineered massive constructions for at least 5,000 years. But why? How do biology and human emotions affect our desire to build gigantic structures?

2013 • Nature

Below Zero

This episode reveals how cold has the power to turn men into Barbarians, spark history's longest running war, and create the concept of race. After the heat of the Big Bang, cold creates the Universe and the planet as we know it.

2013 • Environment

Gold Fever

This episode asks why mankind is gold crazy, and discovers there's a hard-wired reason we lust after it, and a microscopic explanation for why it shines. We reveal how the science behind our favorite metal drives men across oceans and continents.

2013 • Nature

The Superpower of Salt

We all know that mankind can't live without air, food and water...the same is true of salt. The salt on your table is a key to unlocking the story of our planet and the cosmos. Big History reveals how this simple molecule underpins our civilization

2013 • Health

Horse Power Evolution

The horse has been a revolutionary animal in unexpected ways. It has changed how we speak, what we wear, and sets the hidden limit for the size of our most massive empires. It's a story that spans the cosmos.

2013 • History

Silver Supernova

At critical moments in history, our second place metal was the most important metal on Earth. Big History reveals how silver's place in our minds was determined by the heat of exploding stars, and how this one metal saved democracy.

2013 • Nature

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To Infinity and Beyond

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Tails You Win: The Science of Chance

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2012 • Math

Is math discovered or invented?

Would mathematics exist if people didn't? Did we create mathematical concepts to help us understand the world around us, or is math the native language of the universe itself? Jeff Dekofsky traces some famous arguments in this ancient and hotly debated question.

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The mathematical secrets of Pascal’s triangle

Pascal’s triangle, which at first may just look like a neatly arranged stack of numbers, is actually a mathematical treasure trove. But what about it has so intrigued mathematicians the world over?

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Marcus du Sautoy continues his exploration of the hidden numerical code that underpins all nature. This time it's the strange world of what happens next. Professor du Sautoy's odyssey starts with the lunar eclipse - once thought supernatural, now routinely predicted through the power of the code. But more intriguing is what the code can say about our future.

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