Just how small is an atom?

Category: Physics
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Just how small are atoms? And what's inside them? The answers turn out to be astounding, even for those who think they know. This fast-paced animation uses spectacular metaphors (imagine a blueberry the size of a football stadium!) to give a visceral sense of the building blocks that make our world.

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For over a century, physicists have searched for a blueprint of the universe in the form of a single mathematical formula. This ultimate formula would explain the fundamental building blocks of the universe -– the elementary particles and the different forces that govern them. In their quest, physicists dedicated themselves to the pursuit of mathematical beauty but they were to be met with unexpected setbacks. The discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 at last confirmed the Standard Model –- a culmination of the theories of various physicists that finally seemed to explain what this universe is made of. But is this where the story ends...? Using the latest computer graphics and interviews with Nobel Prize-winning physicists, we look at the fascinating and dramatic story of the search for the ultimate formula.

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Inside Einstein's Mind

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Race for Absolute Zero

This two-part scientific detective tale tells the story of a remarkable group of pioneers who wanted to reach the ultimate extreme: absolute zero, a place so cold that the physical world as we know it doesn't exist, electricity flows without resistance, fluids defy gravity and the speed of light can be reduced to 38 miles per hour. Each film features a strange cast of eccentric characters, including: Clarence Birds Eye; Frederic 'Ice King' Tudor, who founded an empire harvesting ice; and James Dewar, who almost drove himself crazy by trying to liquefy hydrogen. Absolute zero became the Holy Grail of temperature physicists and is considered the gateway to many new technologies, such as nano-construction, neurological networks and quantum computing. The possibilities, it seems, are limitless. Part 2: Race for Absolute Zero Focuses on the fierce rivalry that took place in the laboratories in Britain, Holland, France and Poland as they sought the ultimate extreme of cold. The program will follow the extraordinary discoveries of superconductivity and superfluidity and the attempt to produce a new form of matter that Albert Einstein predicted would exist within a few billionths of degrees above absolute zero.

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