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Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams

   2013    Technology
Professor Simon Schaffer presents the amazing and untold story of automata - extraordinary clockwork machines designed hundreds of years ago to mimic and recreate life. The film brings the past to life in vivid detail as we see how and why these masterpieces were built. Travelling around Europe, Simon uncovers the history of these machines and shows us some of the most spectacular examples, from an entire working automaton city to a small boy who can be programmed to write and even a device that can play chess". All the machines Simon visits show a level of technical sophistication and ambition that still amazes today. As well as the automata, Simon explains in great detail the world in which they were made - the hardship of the workers who built them, their role in global trade and the industrial revolution and the eccentric designers who dreamt them up. Finally, Simon reveals that to us that these long-forgotten marriages of art and engineering are actually the ancestors of many of our most loved modern technologies, from recorded music to the cinema and much of the digital world.

Great Cathedral Mystery

   2014    Art
The dome that crowns Florence's great cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo, is a masterpiece of Renaissance ingenuity and an enduring source of mystery. Still the largest masonry dome on earth, it is taller than the Statue of Liberty and weighs as much as an average cruise ship. Historians and engineers have long debated how its architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, kept the dome perfectly aligned and symmetrical as the sides rose and converged toward the center." More than four million bricks could collapse at any moment -- and we still don't understand how Brunelleschi prevented it. To test the latest theories, a team of U.S. bricklayers will help build an experimental "mini-Duomo" using period tools and techniques.

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

Race For Rockets

   2005    Technology
Space Race is a docu-drama chronicling the major events and characters in the American/Soviet space race. It focusses on Sergei Korolev, the Soviets' chief rocket designer, and Wernher von Braun, his American counterpart. The series was a joint effort between British, German, American and Russian production teams." In the first episode, 1944-1949, we see Wernher von Braun's work on the V-2 for the Nazis during the last years of the Second World War, his surrender to American troops and his move to the USA. We see Sergei Korolev's release from the Gulag, and how he is set to work on Soviet rockets, first attempting to copy the V-2, then building a more efficient rocket of his own.
Series: Space Race

Unlocking the Great Pyramid

   2008    History
When ancient architects completed construction on the Great Pyramid at Giza, they left behind the greatest riddle of the engineering world—how did builders lift limestone blocks weighing an average of two and a half tons 480 feet up onto the top of the Pyramid? For centuries, adventurers and Egyptologists have crawled through every passageway and chamber of the Pyramid, measuring and collecting data in an attempt to determine how it was built. For the first time, a revolutionary theory argues that the answer may be inside the Pyramid. Architect Jean-Pierre Houdin and Egyptologist Bob Brier use 3-D software to unlock the secret.
Everything and Nothing
Everything and Nothing

   2011    Science
The Life of Mammals
The Life of Mammals

   2002    Nature
A History of Christianity
A History of Christianity

   2011    History
How the Universe Works Season 6
How the Universe Works Season 6

   2018    Science
Pets: Wild at Heart
Pets: Wild at Heart

   2015    Nature
Out of the Cradle
Out of the Cradle

   2019    History
Capitalism A Love Story
Capitalism A Love Story

   2009    Culture
Ice Age Giants
Ice Age Giants

   2013    Science