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Nova Wonders Are We Alone
2018 Science HD
The search for extraterrestrial life is an age-old quest. But recent breakthroughs make today an era like no other in the history of astronomy. From the exhilarating probing of our own solar system and the Kepler mission’s astounding discovery of thousands of extrasolar planets, to the next-generation telescopes under development, the prospects for finding life beyond Earth have never been stronger.
Still, daunting hurdles remain. How can we study anything light years away, let alone a little planet? In the vast universe, where should we even start to look? Is our failure to hear any other voices in the galaxy a sign that we are special? Join leading explorers now searching the galaxy for life and intelligence on other planets—and asks, if we do find other life in the universe... what would that mean?
What is the Universe Made of
2018 Science HD
This series takes viewers on a journey to the frontiers of science, where researchers are tackling some of the biggest questions about life and the cosmos. The universe is hiding something. In fact, it is hiding a lot. Everything we experience on Earth, the stars and galaxies we see in the cosmos—all the 'normal' matter and energy that we understand—make up only 5% of the known universe. The other 95% is made up of two mysterious components: 'dark matter' and 'dark energy.' We can’t see them, but we know they’re there. And what’s more —these two shadowy ingredients are locked in an epic battle to control the very fate of the universe.
Now, scientists are trying to shed light on the so-called 'dark sector' as the latest generation of detectors rev up, and powerful telescopes peer deeper into space than ever before to observe how it behaves. Will the discoveries help reveal how galaxies formed? In the series finale, Nova Wonders journeys to the stars and back to investigate what we know —and don’t know. Find out how scientists are discovering new secrets about the history of the universe, and why they’re predicting a shocking future.
Numbers as God
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
Weirder and Weirder
Dr Hannah Fry explores a paradox at the heart of modern maths, discovered by Bertrand Russell, which undermines the very foundations of logic that all of maths is built on. These flaws suggest that maths isn't a true part of the universe but might just be a human language - fallible and imprecise. However, Hannah argues that Einstein's theoretical equations, such as E=mc2 and his theory of general relativity, are so good at predicting the universe that they must be reflecting some basic structure in it. This idea is supported by Kurt Godel, who proved that there are parts of maths that we have to take on faith.
Hannah then explores what maths can reveal about the fundamental building blocks of the universe - the subatomic, quantum world. The maths tells us that particles can exist in two states at once, and yet quantum physics is at the core of photosynthesis and therefore fundamental to most of life on earth - more evidence of discovering mathematical rules in nature. But if we accept that maths is part of the structure of the universe, there are two main problems: firstly, the two main theories that predict and describe the universe - quantum physics and general relativity - are actually incompatible; and secondly, most of the maths behind them suggests the likelihood of something even stranger - multiple universes.
We may just have to accept that the world really is weirder than we thought, and Hannah concludes that while we have invented the language of maths, the structure behind it all is something we discover. And beyond that, it is the debate about the origins of maths that has had the most profound consequences: it has truly transformed the human experience, giving us powerful new number systems and an understanding that now underpins the modern world.
The Planet Hunters
2018 Technology HD
The next great voyage of human exploration has already begun: the search for life on planets orbiting distant stars. With extraordinary CGI, the world's most inspiring scientists, via extreme environments on Earth and around the solar system, the film takes viewers aboard the next generation of space ships, across the cosmos and beneath the clouds of the exo-planets to discover The Living Universe.
Part 1: 'The Planet Hunters' For as long as we’ve had eyes to see and minds to wonder we’ve marveled at the stars. Since the discovery of the first so-called exoplanet in 1994, the Planet Hunters have transformed the way we see the universe. It is the year 2157, and spacecraft Artemis enters the final phase of construction.
Planet Earth II
Walking with Cavemen
Seven Ages of Rock
Myths and Heroes
How the Universe Works Season 6
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