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The Story of Maths The Frontiers of Space

   2008    Science
In the third episode we will see Europe by the 17th century taking over from the Middle East as the powerhouse of mathematical ideas. Great strides had been made in understanding the geometry of objects fixed in time and space. The race was on to discover the mathematics to describe objects in motion. This programme explores the work of Rene Descartes, Pierre Fermat, Isaac Newton, Leonard Euler and Carl Friedrich Gauss. Du Sautoy proceeds to describes René Descartes realisation that it was possible to describe curved lines as equations and thus link algebra and geometry. He talks with Henk J. M. Bos about Descartes. He shows how one of Pierre de Fermat’s theorems is now the basis for the codes that protect credit card transactions on the internet. He describes Isaac Newton’s development of math and physics crucial to understanding the behaviour of moving objects in engineering. He covers the Leibniz and Newton calculus controversy and the Bernoulli family. He further covers Leonhard Euler, the father of topology, and Gauss' invention of a new way of handling equations, modular arithmetic. The further contribution of Gauss to our understanding of how prime numbers are distributed is covered thus providing the platform for Bernhard Riemann's theories on prime numbers. In addition Riemann worked on the properties of objects, which he saw as manifolds that could exist in multi-dimensional space.
Series: The Story of Maths

The World Set Free

   2014    Nature
This episode explores the nature of the greenhouse effect (discovered by Joseph Fourier and Svante Arrhenius), and the evidence demonstrating the existence of global warming from humanity's influence. Tyson begins by describing the long-term history of the planet Venus; based on readings from the Venera series of probes to the planet, the planet had once had an ocean and an atmosphere, but due to the release of carbon dioxide from volcanic eruptions, the runaway greenhouse effect on Venus caused the surface temperatures to increase and boiled away the oceans. Tyson then notes the delicate nature of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can influence Earth's climate due to the greenhouse effect, and that levels of carbon dioxide have been increasing since the start of the 20th century. Evidence has shown this to be from mankind's consumption of oil, coal, and gas instead of from volcanic eruptions due to the isotopic signature of the carbon dioxide. The increase in carbon dioxide has led to an increase in temperatures, in turn leading to positive feedback loops of the melting polar ice caps and dethawing of the permafrost to increase carbon dioxide levels. Tyson then notes that humans have discovered means of harvesting solar power, such as Augustin Mouchot's solar-driven motor in the 19th century, and Frank Shuman's solar-based steam generator in the 1910's. Tyson points out that in both cases, the economics and ease of using cheap coal and oil caused these inventions to be overlooked at the time. Today, solar and wind-power systems would be able to collect enough solar energy from the sun easily. Tyson then compares the motivation for switching to these cleaner forms of energy to the efforts of the Space race and emphasizes that it is not too late for humanity to correct its course.
Series: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Through the Wormhole Season 6: Are We Here for a Reason

   2015    Science
Evolution tells us that all life exists for only one purpose: to reproduce. But is that all there is? How could such a simple imperative lead us to create great art and civilizations? A new theory suggests that instead of passing on genes, our ultimate purpose is to process and pass on information. We are the universe figuring itself out. Scientists dig deep into DNA, chemistry, technology and engineering to find the meaning of life. One thing is certain: living is easier if you find a reason for living.
Series: Through the Wormhole Season 6

Unlocking the Great Pyramid

   2008    History
When ancient architects completed construction on the Great Pyramid at Giza, they left behind the greatest riddle of the engineering world—how did builders lift limestone blocks weighing an average of two and a half tons 480 feet up onto the top of the Pyramid? For centuries, adventurers and Egyptologists have crawled through every passageway and chamber of the Pyramid, measuring and collecting data in an attempt to determine how it was built. For the first time, a revolutionary theory argues that the answer may be inside the Pyramid. Architect Jean-Pierre Houdin and Egyptologist Bob Brier use 3-D software to unlock the secret.

What is our future

   2014    Technology
Professor Brian Cox concludes his exploration of our place in the universe by asking what next for the ape that went to space. Our future is far from certain. In Florida, Brian joins the latest efforts to protect Earth from potential catastrophic events. He joins a team of Nasa astronauts who are training for a future mission to an asteroid - should we ever discover one coming our way - under 30 feet of water in a submerged laboratory that simulates space. It is just one example of how, for our long-term survival, space exploration may well be vital. It is a view shared by Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke, who tells Brian what it was like to escape the confines of the planet. It is a dream that both Nasa and now commercial companies share as they race to get humans back into deep space.
But space travel, like every leap our civilisation has ever made, requires energy. Here too, scientists are hard at work attempting to safeguard our future. At the National Ignition Facility in California, Brian witnesses the world's most successful fusion experiment in action. He believes that if their mission succeeds, our civilisation will have unlocked a way to the stars that will not destroy the planet in the process. Brian concludes by returning to the top of the world in Svalbard, where he gains access to our civilisation's greatest treasure, locked away in a vault buried deep in the permafrost.
Series: Human universe
The Story of China
The Story of China

   2016    History
Evolution
Evolution

   2004    Science
Everything and Nothing
Everything and Nothing

   2011    Science
Natural World
Natural World

   2015    Nature
How to Stay Young
How to Stay Young

   2016    Medicine
Inside the Medieval Mind
Inside the Medieval Mind

   2008    History
The Story of God
The Story of God

   2016    Culture
Superstructures: Engineering Marvels
Superstructures: Engineering Marvels

   2019    Technology