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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

Fractals Hunting the Hidden Dimension

   2010    Science
The ultimate adventure in scientific inquiry, this fascinating program follows the exploits of a small group of pioneering mathematicians who discovered a whole area of study that is revolutionizing all branches of understanding in the world: fractal geometry. Fractals are most recognized as a series of circular shapes with a border surrounded by jagged "tail-like" objects. The program, aimed at the average viewer does a fine job of explaining the background of fractals, first by beginning with the story of Pixar co-founder, Loren Carpenter's work at Boeing, developing 3D terrain from scratch using fractals. From there the program starts at the beginning with an introduction to Benoit Mandelbrot and his revolutionary work. The explanations are full of solid factual information but never talk above the level of a viewer who has some understanding of basic mathematical principles. Once the concept is presented the program spends the rest of the time showing how prevalent the fractal is in life. For a program about a mathematical concept, "Fractals" is very engaging, showing how the process was applied to special effects as far back as the Genesis planet from "Star Trek II" all the way to the spectacular finale on Mustafar in "Star Wars: Episode III." I found myself astonished at how fractals were the source of the lava in constant motion and action during the Obi-Wan/Anakin fight. What is more amazing is when the program delves into practical applications such as cell phone antennas, and eventually the human body. For the average person who enjoys watching science related programs, even on a sporadic basis, "Fractals" will prove to be a very worthwhile experience. The program is well produced, integrating talking head interviews (including some with Mandelbrot himself) with standard "in the field" footage. The structure of the program is very logical and never finds itself jumping around without direction. In simplest terms, this is a program as elegant as the designs it focuses on.

Playing with Nuclear Fire

   2014    Technology
Playing with Nuclear Fire' - In March 2011, the Tohoku earthquake in Japan created a tsunami that killed some 16,000 people and crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. In the aftermath, the government and TEPCO, the plant's operator, withheld information about the extent of the damage. Three years later, citizens and the international community are left wondering if Japan really does have the situation under control, as the government is insisting, or if the danger is far greater than anyone is willing to admit. 'No Man Left Behind' - It's estimated that over a quarter million vets from recent wars have sought treatment for PTSD. Despite these statistics, veterans often face an uphill battle to get treatment, receiving inadequate attention and, most dangerously, overprescribed narcotics and other pharmaceuticals. Ryan Duffy meets veterans struggling with mental illness and addiction.
Series: Vice

Can We Have Unlimited Power

   2010    History
We are the most power-hungry generation that has ever lived. This film tells the story of how that power has been harnessed - from wind, steam and from inside the atom. In the early years the drive for new sources of power was led by practical men who wanted to make money. Their inventions and ideas created fortunes and changed the course of history, but it took centuries for science to catch up, to explain what power is, rather than simply what it does. This search revealed fundamental laws of nature which apply across the universe, including the most famous equation in all of science, e=mc2.
Series: The Story of Science

Can We Make a Star on Earth

   2009    Technology
Could nuclear fusion hold the answers to the energy crisis? It is the process that has forged all matter in the universe. It lights the stars and it is what transformed the lighter atoms that formed in the Big Bang into heavier atoms. In Can We Make a Star on Earth?, Brian Cox peers beyond the glare of our Sun to reveal the hidden forces that provide its power. He discovers how this fusion energy has kept our closest star burning for five billion years. Brian believes humanity must build a star on Earth to ensure survival. Will scientists be able to harness fusion power and achieve abundant, cheap, clean energy?
Blood of the Vikings
Blood of the Vikings

   2001    History
Prehistoric America
Prehistoric America

   2003    Nature
Life in the Undergrowth
Life in the Undergrowth

   2005    Nature
In Search of Beethoven
In Search of Beethoven

   2009    Art
The Men Who Built America
The Men Who Built America

   2012    History
Conversations with Dolphins
Conversations with Dolphins

   2016    Science
Science and Islam
Science and Islam

   2017    History
Conquest of the Skies
Conquest of the Skies

   2015    Nature