Theoretical physicist and best-selling author Brian Greene takes us on a journey through the discoveries of quantum physics. How is it that Newtonian mechanics gave way to the more complex and modern world of quantum mechanics?
As the theories on quantum mechanics begin to take shape, the 1927 Solvay Conference becomes a battleground for new scientific ideas. The world’s most brilliant minds, including Einstein and Bohr, try to crack the nature of the subatomic world. Join Brian Greene in exploring this fascinating period.
2016 • Physics
Scientists investigate the way the Sun builds its power -- through fusion -- hoping to find a way to use fusion as a less dangerous and less radioactive waste-producing path to energy than fission. But there are some major difficulties along the way...
2017 • Physics
The human race has succeeded in explaining nearly everything in this universe using mathematical formulae. Yet there is one place that remains shrouded in mystery -– black holes. Physicists believe that if they could discover a formula that explains the center of black holes, the last remaining mystery of the universe could finally be unraveled -– how the universe came into being. Their attempts have been mired by unforeseen pitfalls but with the development of superstring theory, physicists have arrived at a formula that could finally end their century-long search. What the formula described was a world beyond our wildest imaginations. This is the incredible story of physicists like Einstein, Hawking and the superstring theorists who have endeavored to solve the mystery of the origin of the universe.
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.
Where Am I? Is a new documentary about the skills we use to find our way around. Whether you are an Inuit hunter, a foraging insect, or just someone out for a stroll, your brain is performing one of its most fundamental services – it’s navigating. Why are some of us good at finding our way, while others are not? Good navigators are able to use both memory and imagination…remembering where they have been, and imagining where they’re going. Some researchers believe we build a cognitive or mental map when we navigate, a kind of bird’s eye view of our surroundings, a view that can be rotated and examined in our mind. There has been about sixty years of argument amongst scientists about whether humans and other mammals actually form these cognitive maps or not. The advent of GPS or Global Positioning Systems has changed the discussion about navigation. GPS triggers a simpler, more automatic navigational technique that does not involve building a mental map. With GPS, we simply respond to directions and may not truly understand where we are.
Early Earth was a canvas for the vast new palette of the colours of life, with the diversity of human skin tones telling the story of how humanity spread and ultimately conquered the planet. Dr Helen Czerski explores the true masters of colour - which are often the smallest and most elusive - travelling to the mountains of Tennessee to witness the colourful mating display of fireflies, and revealing the marine creatures that can change the colour of their skin in order to hide from the world.
Visiting a hidden location buried beneath the hills of Scotland, Helen experiences some of the most extreme acoustics in the world. Here she learns just how much information can be carried by sound. She discovers how sound has driven the evolution of truly incredible biological systems and complex relationships between creatures that exploit sound for hunting - and escaping from predators. Helen demonstrates how sound waves diffract (bend around objects) and in doing so help us sense danger and locate it. Helen explains how we are not limited to passively detecting sound waves; we can also use them to actively probe the world.