This documentary presents the story of Nikola Tesla, the great scientist, visionary, and inventor who gave the world alternating current electricity, as well as being the father of radio. The film tells the story of this man's astonishing genius, his visions and inventions. Tesla's own scientific and autobiographical writings, as well as archival photographs and re-enactments are used to tell the story. A native of Austro-Hungary, Tesla came to America in 1884. Working first with Edison, the two inventors fell out over Edison's insistence on using direct current. Tesla took his alternating current vision to Westinghouse. His New York address was renowned for the bolts of lightning emanating from it, as Tesla worked to unlock the secrets of energy and electricity. His quest took him to Colorado. The film follows Tesla's exploits and eccentricities, which made him a darling of the press. Included is the well-known and touching story of his devotion to a certain white pigeon. Largely forgotten today in spite of the great debt the modern world owes him, the film pays tribute to this overlooked genius.
2007 • Physics
Ice is one of the strangest, most beguiling and mesmerising substances in the world. Full of contradictions, it is transparent, yet it can glow with colour, it is powerful enough to shatter rock, but it can melt in the blink of an eye. It takes many shapes, from the fleeting beauty of a snowflake to the multimillion-tonne vastness of a glacier and the eeriness of the ice fountains of far-flung moons. Science writer Dr Gabrielle Walker has been obsessed with ice ever since she first set foot on Arctic sea ice. In this programme, she searches out some of the secrets hidden deep within the ice crystal to try to discover how something so ephemeral has the power to sculpt landscapes, to preserve our past and inform our future.
2011 • Physics
Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, posed this famous question: If you put a cat in a sealed box with a device that has a 50% chance of killing the cat in the next hour, what will be the state of the cat when that time is up?
There is something very strange happens in space – something that should not be possible. It’s as if large parts of the world are being ravaged by a huge and invisible celestial vacuum. Sasha Kaslinsky, the scientist who discovered the phenomenon, is understandably nervous: “We left very upset and nervous,” he says, “because this is not something we planned to find.”
Deep underground in a vault beneath Paris lives the most important lump of metal in the world - Le Grand K. Created in the 19th century, it's the world's master kilogramme, the weight on which every other weight is based. But there is a problem with Le Grand K - it is losing weight. Professor Marcus du Sautoy explores the history of this strange object and the astonishing modern day race to replace it.
In this extraordinary documentary we are going to witness very different kinds and situations of snowing: from howling blizzards to the gentlest and loveliest of weather events, from huge handkerchiefs quietly falling to the needle-sharp attack of hard, heavy grains. Snow - what is it really? How is it created - naturally and artificially? Thanks to CGI and new camera techniques we can actually see this process for the first time and listen to the incredible, inaudible music of snowfall, of myriads of tiny crystals touching and rolling and settling. Each snowflake is unique and bears more secrets than we could imagine. Did you know that different kinds of music influence the crystallization process and the shape of snowflakes? And have you ever imagined that we would be able to produce artificial snow that melts at 30 degrees Celsius? With this in mind: just let it snow!
2008 • Physics