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Big Bang Machine

   2015    Technology
On July 4, 2012, scientists at the giant atom smashing facility at CERN announced the discovery of a subatomic particle that seems like a tantalizingly close match to the elusive Higgs Boson, thought to be responsible for giving all the stuff in the universe its mass. Since it was first proposed nearly fifty years ago, the Higgs has been the holy grail of particle physicists: finding it completes the 'standard model" that underlies all of modern particle physics. Now CERN's scientists are preparing for the Large Hadron Collider's second act, when they restart the history-making collider, running at higher energy--hoping to find the next great discovery that will change what we know about the particles and forces that make up our universe.

Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams

   2013    Technology
Professor Simon Schaffer presents the amazing and untold story of automata - extraordinary clockwork machines designed hundreds of years ago to mimic and recreate life. The film brings the past to life in vivid detail as we see how and why these masterpieces were built. Travelling around Europe, Simon uncovers the history of these machines and shows us some of the most spectacular examples, from an entire working automaton city to a small boy who can be programmed to write and even a device that can play chess". All the machines Simon visits show a level of technical sophistication and ambition that still amazes today. As well as the automata, Simon explains in great detail the world in which they were made - the hardship of the workers who built them, their role in global trade and the industrial revolution and the eccentric designers who dreamt them up. Finally, Simon reveals that to us that these long-forgotten marriages of art and engineering are actually the ancestors of many of our most loved modern technologies, from recorded music to the cinema and much of the digital world.

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 2014

Out of Sight

   2012    Science
The human eye is a remarkable piece of precision engineering, but it is also extremely limited. Beyond the narrow range of light that makes up the familiar colours of the rainbow is a vast spectrum of light, entirely unseen. Richard Hammond does just that, using ground-breaking new imaging technologies to take the viewer on a breath-taking journey of discovery beyond the visible spectrum, seeing the world, quite literally, in a whole new light. From death-defying aerial repairmen in the United States using ultraviolet cameras to seek out an invisible force that lurks unseen on power lines, to German scientists unlocking the secrets of animal locomotion with the world's most powerful moving x-ray camera, to infrared cameras that can finally reveal the secrets within a humble beehive, he shows how new technologies are letting us see our world anew.
Series: Invisible Worlds

Absolute Zero Conquest of Cold

   2007    Technology
This scientific detective tale tells the story of a remarkable group of pioneers who wanted to reach the ultimate extreme: absolute zero, a place so cold that the physical world as we know it doesn't exist, electricity flows without resistance, fluids defy gravity and the speed of light can be reduced to 38 miles per hour. Absolute zero became the Holy Grail of temperature physicists and is considered the gateway to many new technologies, such as nano-construction, neurological networks and quantum computing. The possibilities, it seems, are limitless. The first episode Chronicles the major discoveries leading towards the mastery of cold, beginning with King James I's court magician, Cornelius Drebbel, who managed to air condition the largest interior space in the British Isles in 1620. Other stories will include the first "natural philosopher," Robert Boyle, a founder of the Royal Society in Great Britain; the Grand Duke Ferdinand II de Medici's involvement in the creation of the first thermometer; the establishment of the laws of thermodynamics by three young scientists, Sadi Carnot, James Joule and William Thomson; and Michael Faraday's critical achievement in liquefying several other gases which set the stage for the commercial application of cold to refrigeration and air conditioning.
Series: Absolute Zero
How the Universe Works Season 6
How the Universe Works Season 6

   2018    Science
Roman Empire: Reign of Blood
Roman Empire: Reign of Blood

   2016    History
Racism: A History
Racism: A History

   2007    Culture
Prehistoric America
Prehistoric America

   2003    Nature
Life in the Undergrowth
Life in the Undergrowth

   2005    Nature
The Germanic Tribes
The Germanic Tribes

   2007    History
Hiroshima
Hiroshima

   2005    History
Earthflight
Earthflight

   2012    Nature