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Weirder and Weirder

   2018    Science
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.
Series: Magic Numbers

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.

Can Time Go Backwards

   2015    Science
We move around in space, but we are stuck in a prison of time moving ever forwards. Einstein said, 'The distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.' Is our experience of the ticking clock merely a trick of the mind? Could science ever make the clock move backwards? Experiments in quantum physics are showing that the future influences the present: what happens later limits the choices we think we have now. The laws of physics say visiting or talking to ourselves in the past is possible – but changing history once we get there is not.
Series: Through the Wormhole Season 6

Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still

   2014    Science
This episodes the nature of the cosmos on the micro and atomic scales, using the Ship of the Imagination to explore these realms. Tyson describes some of the micro-organism that live within a dew drop, demonstrating parameciums and tardigrades. He proceeds to discuss how plants use photosynthesis via their chloroplasts to convert sunlight into chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and energy-rich sugars. Tyson then discusses the nature of molecules and atoms and how they relate to the evolution of species. He uses the example set forth by Charles Darwin postulating the existence of the long-tongued Morgan's sphinx moth based on the nature of the comet orchid with pollen far within the flower. He further demonstrates that scents from flowers are used to trigger olfactory centers in the brain, stimulating the mind to threats as to aid in the survival of the species. Tyson narrates how Greek philosophers Thales and Democritus postulated that all matter was made up of combinations of atoms in a large number of configurations, and describes how carbon forms the basic building block for life on earth due to its unique chemical nature. Tyson explains on the basic atomic structure of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and the nature of nuclear fusion that occurs in most stars. He then discusses the existence of neutrinos that are created by these nuclear processes in stars, and that detecting such sub-atomic particles which normally pass through matter require subterranean facilities like the Super-Kamiokande that were used to detect neutrinos from the supernova SN 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud before light from the explosion were observed due to their ability to pass through matter of the dying sun. Tyson compares how neutrinos were postulated by Wolfgang Pauli to account for the conservation of energy from nuclear reactions in the same manner as Darwin's postulate on the long-tongued moth. Tyson concludes by noting that there are neutrinos from the Big Bang still existing in the universe but due to the nature of light, there is a "wall of infinity" that cannot be observed beyond.
Series: Cosmos 2014

Place in Space and Time

   2014    Science
On a trip to the fortified Moroccan village of Ait-Ben-Haddou in the Atlas Mountains, Professor Brian Cox reveals how by watching the stars' motion across the night sky, it is quite natural for man to think he is at the centre of everything. That view was held for many ages, but innate human curiosity has eventually led to an understanding of mankind's true place in space and time, and an appreciation that Earth is not a focal point but a mere particle of rock in a possibly infinite expanse of space, 13.8 billion years from the beginning of the universe.
Series: Human Universe
Tales by Light Season 2
Tales by Light Season 2

   2017    Nature
Inside the Medieval Mind
Inside the Medieval Mind

   2008    History
Motivation
Motivation

   2017    Culture
Life in the Undergrowth
Life in the Undergrowth

   2005    Nature
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History
Human Universe
Human Universe

   2014    History
Chemistry
Chemistry

   2010    Science
How to Stay Young
How to Stay Young

   2016    Medicine