The Universe • 2011 • episode "S1E2" James May's Things You Need to Know

Category: Astronomy
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James May takes a journey of discovery across the universe.

James May's Things You Need to Know • 2011 - 2012 • 9 episodes •

Einstein

James May reveals a world of facts about Albert Einstein and his groundbreaking theories.

2012 • People

The Human Body

James uses motion graphics to help find the answers to key questions about the human body

2011 • Health

The Universe

James May takes a journey of discovery across the universe.

2011 • Astronomy

The Weather

James May asks the big questions about the weather, including what is a cloud?

2011 • Environment

The Brain

James May cranks open your cranium to reveal what's really taking place inside your head.

2012 • Brain

Evolution

James May treks into the wilderness to learn about Darwin's theory of natural selection.

2012 • Nature

Speed

James May rapidly and easily explains all you need to know about speed.

2012 • Physics

Engineering

James May gives a nuts and bolts explanation of the fascinating science of engineering.

2012 • Nature

Chemistry

James May distills the secrets of all you need to know about chemistry.

2012 • Science

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Who's Afraid of a Big Black Hole?

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Secret History of Mercury

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The Search for Life: The Drake Equation

For many years our place in the universe was the subject of theologians and philosophers, not scientists, but in 1960 one man changed all that. Dr Frank Drake was one of the leading lights in the new science of radio astronomy when he did something that was not only revolutionary, but could have cost him his career. Working at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Greenback in Virginia, he pointed one of their new 25-metre radio telescopes at a star called Tau Ceti twelve light years from earth, hoping for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

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Lift Off

Kevin explores and probes second by second what it takes to 'lift off' into space. With Tim only days into his six-month mission, he helps Kevin answer what keeps astronauts safe and on track as they are propelled into orbit. How do you control the energy of 300 tonnes of liquid fuel? What happens to your body if you don't wear a spacesuit? And how do you catch up with a space station travelling at 17,500 mph to finally get inside? With explosive live experiments, guest astronauts in the lecture theatre, and planetary scientist Monica Grady direct from the launch pad in Kazakhstan, we learn all this and more as those thrilling minutes of lift off are recreated.

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Gamma-Ray Bursts

Gamma-ray bursts are not only incredible to study, but their discovery has an epic story all its own. Today Phil takes you through some Cold War history and then dives into what we know. Bursts come in two rough varieties: Long and short. Long ones are from hypernovae, massive stars exploding, sending out twin beams of matter and energy. Short ones are from merging neutron stars. Both kinds are so energetic they are visible for billions of light years, and both are also the birth announcements of black holes.

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