The Structure of Earth

Category: Physics

…or why we live on an onion made of magma.

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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?


3 Reasons Why Nuclear Energy Is Awesome!

Nuclear energy might have a lot of unused potential. Not only is it one of the best mid term solutions for global warming bit despite what gut feeling tells us, it has saved millions of lives. By investing more into better technologies we might be able to make nuclear energy finally save and clean forever.

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How to Build a Force Field

Every starship needs armor to protect it from asteroids and enemy attack- Dr. Michio Kaku reveals how cutting edge science could be used to create force fields that might one day save our space craft from an alien onslaught.

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Let There Be Life

Physicist Jim Al-Khalili routinely deals with the strangest subject in all of science - quantum physics, the astonishing and perplexing theory of sub-atomic particles. But now he's turning his attention to the world of nature. Can quantum mechanics explain the greatest mysteries in biology?

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That Shrinking Feeling

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.

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Colours Of Earth

In the first episode, Helen seeks out the colours that turned planet Earth multicoloured. To investigate the essence of sunlight Helen travels to California to visit the largest solar telescope in the world. She discovers how the most vivid blue is formed from sulfur atoms deep within the Earth's crust and why the presence of red ochre is a key sign of life. In gold, she discovers why this most precious of metals shouldn't even exist on the surface of the planet and in white, Helen travels to one of the hottest places on Earth to explore the role salt and water played in shaping planet Earth.

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