Let’s talk about the best evidence we have that the theories of quantum physics truly represent the underlying workings of reality.
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Black holes! From Stephen Hawking to Interstellar, black holes are mammoths in the world of science AND sci-fi. But what exactly IS a black hole? Do events happen inside black holes? Are black holes really a hole? Are black holes really black?! Join Gabe on this week’s episode of PBS Space Time as he debunks popular black hole misconceptions, and rethinks what the term, ‘black hole’, even means. Thought you knew what a black hole was? Think again!
2015 • Astronomy
Adamantium, bolognium, dilithium. Element Zero, Kryptonite. Mythril, Netherite, Orichalcum, Unobtanium. We love the idea of fictional elements with miraculous properties that science has yet to discover. But is it really possible that new elements exist beyond the periodic table?
2022 • Science
There’s an absolute limit to our access to the universe beyond our own galaxy. There’s a limit to what we can ever hope to explore or send signals to, and a very different limit to what we can ever hope to witness. Today we’re going to explore the latter. We’re going to figure out the absolute limit of our future view of the universe, and of the universe’s ability to influence us. Next time we’ll turn it around and ask: how much of the external universe can WE potentially influence, and even explore?
2023 • Astronomy
When we look at the sky, we have a flat, two-dimensional view. So how do astronomers figure the distances of stars and galaxies from Earth? Yuan-Sen Ting shows us how trigonometric parallaxes, standard candles and more help us determine the distance of objects several billion light years away from Earth.
Hannah is going the other way by asking whether everything could, in fact, be smaller. But going smaller turns out not to be much safer... First, we shrink the Earth to half its size - it starts well with lower gravity enabling us to do incredible acrobatics, but things gradually turn nasty as everyone gets altitude sickness - even at sea level. Then we visit Professor Daniel Lathrop's incredible laboratory, where he has built a model Earth that allows us to investigate the other effects of shrinking the planet to half size. The results aren't good - with a weaker magnetic field we would lose our atmosphere and eventually become a barren, lifeless rock like Mars. In our next thought experiment, we shrink people to find out what life is like if you are just 5mm tall. We find out why small creatures have superpowers that seem to defy the laws of physics, meet Jyoti Amge, the world's smallest woman, and with the help of Dr Diana Van Heemst and thousands of baseball players reveal why short people have longer lives. Lastly, the Sun gets as small as a sun can be. We visit the fusion reactor at the Joint European Torus to find out why stars have to be a minimum size or fusion won't happen. And if our Sun were that small? Plants would turn from green to black, and Earth would probably resemble a giant, frozen eyeball. Which all goes to show that size really does matter.
Time travel is not forbidden by the laws of nature, but to build a time machine, we would need to understand more about those laws and how to subvert them than we do now. And every day, science does learn more. In this film Horizon meets the scientists working on the cutting edge of discovery - men and women who may discover how to build wormholes, manipulate entangled photons or build fully functioning time crystals. In short, these scientists may enable an engineer of the future to do what we have so far been only able to imagine - to build a machine that allows us travel back and forward in time at the touch of a button. It could be you! Science fiction?
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.
2021 • Physics