Just outside Paris, inside a hi-tech vault, and encased in three vacuum-sealed bell jars, rests a small metallic cylinder about the diameter of a golf ball. It may not look like much, but it is one of the most important objects on the planet. It affects nearly every aspect of our lives including the food we eat, the cars we drive, even the medicines we take. It is the kilogramme, the base unit of mass in the International System of Units. This small hunk of metal is the object against which all others are measured. Yet over time, its mass has mysteriously eroded by the weight of an eyelash. A change that, unbeknownst to most, unleashed a crisis with potentially dire consequences. Follows the ensuing high-stakes, two-year race to redefine the weight of the world, and tells the story of one of the most important objects on the planet.
One of science’s great odd couples — British minister Joseph Priestley and French tax administrator Antoine Lavoisier — together discover a fantastic new gas called oxygen, overturning the reigning theory of chemistry and triggering a worldwide search for new elements. Soon caught up in the hunt is science’s first great showman, a precocious British chemist named Humphry Davy, who dazzles London audiences with his lectures, introduces them to laughing gas and turns the battery into a powerful tool in the search for new elements.
Take a theatrical journey with physicist Brian Greene to uncover how Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity. In this vivid play, science is illuminated on stage and screen through innovative projections and an original score.
2019 • Physics
One of the most amazing facts in physics is that everything in the universe, from light to electrons to atoms, behaves like both a particle and a wave at the same time. But how did physicists arrive at this mind-boggling conclusion?
Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell describes how she discovered pulsars, the by-products of supernova explosions which make life in the universe possible. She describes the moments of despair and jubilation as the discovery unfolded and her excitement as pulsars took the scientific world by storm. Reflecting on the nature of scientific discovery, she talks about the connections between religion and science and how she sees science as a search for understanding rather than as a quest for truth.