Is it humankind's greatest achievement? 12 billion miles away a tiny spaceship is leaving our Solar System and entering the void of deep space. It is the first human-made object ever to do so. Slowly dying within its heart is a plutonium generator that will beat for perhaps another decade before the lights on Voyager finally go out. But this little craft will travel on for millions of years, carrying a Golden Record bearing recordings and images of life on Earth. In all likelihood Voyager will outlive humanity and all our creations. It could be the only thing to mark our existence. Perhaps some day an alien will find it and wonder. The story of Voyager is an epic of human achievement, personal drama and almost miraculous success. Launched 16 days apart in Autumn 1977, the twin Voyager space probes have defied all the odds, survived countless near misses and almost 40 years later continue to beam revolutionary information across unimaginable distances.
Professor Jim Al-Khalili tells the electrifying story of our quest to master nature's most mysterious force - electricity. Until fairly recently, electricity was seen as a magical power, but it is now the lifeblood of the modern world and underpins every aspect of our technological advancements.Without electricity, we would be lost. This series tells of dazzling leaps of imagination and extraordinary experiments - a story of maverick geniuses who used electricity to light our cities, to communicate across the seas and through the air, to create modern industry and to give us the digital revolution. Episode one tells the story of the very first 'natural philosophers' who started to unlock the mysteries of electricity. They studied its curious link to life, built strange and powerful instruments to create it and even tamed lightning itself. It was these men who truly laid the foundations of the modern world. Electricity was without doubt a fantastical wonder. This is the story about what happened when the first real concerted effort was made to understand electricity; how we learned to create and store it, before finally creating something that enabled us to make it at will - the battery.
Category:Science Duration:58:49 Series: Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity
This is the story of a book that could have changed the history of the World. To the untrained eye, it is nothing more than a small and unassuming Byzantine prayer book. For faintly visible beneath the prayers on its pages are other, unique, writings - words that have been lost for nearly two thousand years. The text is the only record of work by one of the world's greatest minds - the ancient Greek, Archimedes - a mathematical genius centuries ahead of his time. Hidden for a millennium in a middle eastern library, it has been written over, broken up, painted on, cut up and re-glued. But in the nick of time scientists have saved the precious, fragile document, and for the first time it is revealing just how revolutionary Archimedes' ideas were. If it had been available to scholars during the Renaissance, we might have reached the Moon over a hundred years ago.
Professor Marcus du Sautoy explores why we are driven to measure and quantify the world around us and why we have reduced the universe to just a handful of fundamental units of measurement. He tells the story of the metre and the second - how an astonishing journey across revolutionary France gave birth to the metre, and how scientists today are continuing to redefine the measurement of time and length, with extraordinary results.
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