Simply the Best Documentaries

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brilliant mathematicians, whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide. Georg Cantor, the great mathematician whose work proved to be the foundation for much of the 20th-century mathematics. He believed he was God's messenger and was eventually driven insane trying to prove his theories of infinity. Ludwig Boltzmann's struggle to prove the existence of atoms and probability eventually drove him to suicide.

**Category**:Science **Duration**:44:43
**Series**: Dangerous knowledge

It is a nightmare that has stalked us for centuries: hordes of human beings transformed into mindless, cannibalistic monsters. Could this civilization-ending nightmare become reality? Scientists have discovered pathogens that turn insects into the walking dead. New strains of viruses are attacking humans every day. Mathematicians have calculated the likelihood of surviving a zombie virus outbreak: they’re not hopeful. Now neuroscientists are discovering how easy it is for us to lose conscious control of our bodies. Are we at risk of becoming puppets? If we were in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, would we even know it?

**Category**:Medicine **Duration**:42:00
**Series**: Through the Wormhole Season 5

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.

When ancient Greece fell into decline, mathematical progress stagnated as Europe entered the Dark Ages, but in the East mathematics reached new heights. In the second episode, Du Sautoy explores how maths helped build imperial China and discovers how the symbol for the number zero was invented in India. He also looks at the Middle Eastern invention of algebra and how mathematicians such as Fibonacci spread Eastern knowledge to the West.

**Category**:Science **Duration**:57:15
**Series**: The Story of Maths

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