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Magic Without Lies

   2020    Science
We inhabit a cosmos of undiscovered dimensions and paradoxical realities. We live on one level of perception, but there are others. Every once in a while, a searcher happens upon the doorway to one of these other levels. One of them discovered a paradox about reality that proved to be so profound, we have yet to understand how it could be possible. The universe, or perhaps we should say, universes have never been the same.
In the counterintuitive realm of quantum mechanics, light can be two contradictory things, and somehow - no one knows how - an unseen observer can alter the nature of reality. The man who stumbled on this hole in reality and the still- unfolding technological revolution that it made possible.
Series: Cosmos: Possible Worlds

Expanded Horizons

   2018    Science
Dr Hannah Fry travels down the fastest zip wire in the world to learn more about Newton's ideas on gravity. His discoveries revealed the movement of the planets was regular and predictable. James Clerk Maxwell unified the ideas of electricity and magnetism, and explained what light was. As if that wasn't enough, he also predicted the existence of radio waves. His tools of the trade were nothing more than pure mathematics. All strong evidence for maths being discovered.
But in the 19th century, maths is turned on its head when new types of geometry are invented. No longer is the kind of geometry we learned in school the final say on the subject. If maths is more like a game, albeit a complicated one, where we can change the rules, surely this points to maths being something we invent - a product of the human mind. To try and answer this question, Hannah travels to Halle in Germany on the trail of perhaps one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, Georg Cantor. He showed that infinity, far from being infinitely big, actually comes in different sizes, some bigger than others. This increasingly weird world is feeling more and more like something we've invented. But if that's the case, why is maths so uncannily good at predicting the world around us? Invented or discovered, this question just got a lot harder to answer.
Series: Magic Numbers

Numbers as God

   2018    Science
Mathematician Dr Hannah Fry explores the mystery of maths. It underpins so much of our modern world that it's hard to imagine life without its technological advances, but where exactly does maths come from? Is it invented like a language or is it something discovered and part of the fabric of the universe? It's a question that some of the most eminent mathematical minds have been wrestling with. To investigate this question, Hannah goes head first down the fastest zip wire in the world to learn more about Newton's law of gravity, she paraglides to understand where the theory of maths and its practice application collide, and she travels to infinity and beyond to discover that some infinities are bigger than others.
In this episode, Hannah goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks to find out why they were so fascinated by the connection between beautiful music and maths. The patterns our ancestors found in music are all around us, from the way a sunflower stores its seeds to the number of petals in a flower. Even the shapes of some of the smallest structures in nature, such as viruses, seem to follow the rules of maths. All strong evidence for maths being discovered. But there are those who claim maths is all in our heads and something we invented. To find out if this is true, Hannah has her brain scanned. It turns out there is a place in all our brains where we do maths, but that doesn't prove its invented.
Experiments with infants, who have never had a maths lesson in their lives, suggests we all come hardwired to do maths. Far from being a creation of the human mind, this is evidence for maths being something we discover. Then along comes the invention of zero to help make counting more convenient and the creation of imaginary numbers, and the balance is tilted in the direction of maths being something we invented. The question of whether maths is invented or discovered just got a whole lot more difficult to answer
Series: Magic Numbers

God in the Dock

   2011    Culture
Diarmaid MacCulloch's own life story makes him a symbol of a distinctive feature about Western Christianity - scepticism, a tendency to doubt which has transformed both Western culture and Christianity. In the final programme in the series, he asks where that change came from. He challenges the simplistic notion that faith in Christianity has steadily ebbed away before the relentless advance of science, reason and progress, and shows instead how the tide of faith perversely flows back in. Despite the attacks of Newton, Voltaire, the French Revolutionaries and Darwin, Christianity has shown a remarkable resilience. The greatest damage to Christianity was actually inflicted to its moral credibility by the two great wars of the 20th century and by its entanglement with Fascism and Nazism. And yet it is during crisis that the Church has rediscovered deep and enduring truths about itself, which may even be a clue to its future.
Series: A History of Christianity

Gravity and Me The Force that Shapes our Lives

   2017    Science
Professor Jim Al-Khalili investigates the amazing science of gravity. A fundamental force of nature, gravity shapes our entire universe. It sculpts galaxies and warps space and time. But gravity’s strange powers also affect our daily lives in the most unexpected ways. This is a story with surprises in store for Jim himself. In telling the story of gravity, his own understanding of the nature of reality comes to be challenged. Finally, Jim discovers that, despite incredible progress, gravity still has many secrets to unveil.
Dangerous knowledge
Dangerous knowledge

   2007    Science
Space Deepest Secrets
Space Deepest Secrets

   2020    Science
Seven Ages of Rock
Seven Ages of Rock

   2007    Art
Leaving Neverland
Leaving Neverland

   2019    Culture
Out of the Cradle
Out of the Cradle

   2019    History
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History
The Last Dance
The Last Dance

   2020    Culture
Wild South America
Wild South America

   2005    Nature