Our Mathematical Universe • 2016 • episode "4/8" Curiosity Retreats: 2016 Lectures

Category: Math
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Renowned cosmologist Max Tegmark will take us on a journey through some of the greatest mysteries of our existence, and through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work.

Curiosity Retreats: 2016 Lectures • 2016 • 8 episodes •

The Future Of The Brain

What would the world be like if we could expand our senses beyond our current capacities? Neuroscientist David Eagleman is working on the cutting edge of technology that will change what it means to be human.

2016 • Brain

Our Virtual Reality

As the ability to blur the physical and digital worlds becomes a global phenomenon, Nonny de la Pena is harnessing that transformative ability to tell stories like never before. Learn how she uses the immersive power of VR to help people connect to important issues they might otherwise ignore.

2016 • Technology

To Pluto and Beyond

New Horizons took its famed look at Pluto and is now racing toward its next destination… and Alan Stern will take us all on the journey of exploration with it!

2016 • Astronomy

Our Mathematical Universe

Renowned cosmologist Max Tegmark will take us on a journey through some of the greatest mysteries of our existence, and through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work.

2016 • Math

The Human Journey a Genetic Odyssey

Geneticist Spencer Wells presents a broad view of the DNA Testing industry from its beginnings to its broader acceptance by the general public. Now an individual can, for the first time in history, read his own genetic blueprints.

2016 • Health

The Humane Economy

Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States, draws a practical roadmap for how we can use the marketplace to promote the welfare of all living creatures, and how industries, innovators and consumers are coming together in this powerful social movement.

2016 • Economics

Lessons from the Presidents

Through her unique understanding of some of our greatest presidents, Doris Kearns Goodwin, writer and presidential biographer, provides leadership lessons we all can learn from in our never-ending pursuit to live our fullest and most successful lives.

2016 • Lifehack

The Big Picture

Award-winning physicist Sean Carroll is known for his keen observations on the relationship between humanity and the laws of nature, and finding where human purpose and meaning fit into a scientific world view.

2016 • Physics

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Dr Hannah Fry explores the limits of our control, from dangerous miscalculations to creating and spotting fake videos, and questions how far we should be going with our mathematical skills. A gravity-defying BMX stunt kick-starts the debate around trusting the numbers, and launches us into an investigation of just how sure we can be about anything in our messy world. Together with maths comedian Matt Parker, Hannah uses flaming balloons and gigantic slices of melting cheese to get to the bottom of the guesswork used in real world calculations. A visiting drone zips through the corridors of the historic Royal Institution building, introducing the mother of all drones, a human-sized machine that delivers urgent parcels, and we welcome the team designing driverless helicopters and buying up London rooftops to prepare for the future. But these physical challenges are just the beginning of the debate on handing control over to machines. Hannah explores whether human jurors or robots make fairer decisions, and welcomes Atima Lui, who is on a mission to design the most unbiased facial detection software in the world, which will say goodbye to the 'fast track for white people' at automatic passport gates. Hannah dives into the issues around privacy in our modern world, with Glow Up make-up star Tiffany Hunt making a member of the audience invisible to CCTV, while Hannah explores the truth behind cookies and anonymity online. Finally, she delves into the world of fake news, to separate the truth from the lies. Leading deep fake creators team up with the Christmas Lectures to create a television first – a custom-made deep fake video of a child in the audience, highlighting our ability to use maths to warp reality however we please. Hannah ultimately explores who the real winners are, in an escalating arms race of mathematical tricks.

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Beyond Beauty the Predictive Power of Symmetry

From a bee’s hexagonal honeycomb to the elliptical paths of planets, symmetry has long been recognized as a vital quality of nature. Einstein saw symmetry hidden in the fabric of space and time. The brilliant Emmy Noether proved that symmetry is the mathematical flower of deeply rooted physical law. And today’s theorists are pursuing an even more exotic symmetry that, mathematically speaking, could be nature’s final fundamental symmetry: supersymmetry.

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Numbers as God

Hannah goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks to find out why they were so fascinated by the connection between beautiful music and maths. The patterns our ancestors found in music are all around us, from the way a sunflower stores its seeds to the number of petals in a flower. Even the shapes of some of the smallest structures in nature, such as viruses, seem to follow the rules of maths. All strong evidence for maths being discovered. But there are those who claim maths is all in our heads and something we invented. To find out if this is true, Hannah has her brain scanned. It turns out there is a place in all our brains where we do maths, but that doesn't prove its invented. Experiments with infants, who have never had a maths lesson in their lives, suggests we all come hardwired to do maths. Far from being a creation of the human mind, this is evidence for maths being something we discover. Then along comes the invention of zero to help make counting more convenient and the creation of imaginary numbers, and the balance is tilted in the direction of maths being something we invented. The question of whether maths is invented or discovered just got a whole lot more difficult to answer.

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