The human eye is a remarkable piece of precision engineering, but it is also extremely limited. Beyond the narrow range of light that makes up the familiar colours of the rainbow is a vast spectrum of light, entirely unseen. Richard Hammond does just that, using ground-breaking new imaging technologies to take the viewer on a breath-taking journey of discovery beyond the visible spectrum, seeing the world, quite literally, in a whole new light. From death-defying aerial repairmen in the United States using ultraviolet cameras to seek out an invisible force that lurks unseen on power lines, to German scientists unlocking the secrets of animal locomotion with the world's most powerful moving x-ray camera, to infrared cameras that can finally reveal the secrets within a humble beehive, he shows how new technologies are letting us see our world anew.
Category:Science Duration: Series: Invisible Worlds
This episode explores the wave theory of light as studied by mankind, noting that light has played an important role in scientific progress, with such early experiments from over 2000 years ago involving the camera obscura by the Chinese philosopher Mozi. Tyson describes the work of the 11th century Arabic scientist Ibn al-Haytham, considered to be one of the first to postulate on the nature of light and optics leading to the concept of the telescope, as well as one of the first researchers to use the scientific method. Tyson proceeds to discuss the nature of light as discovered by mankind. Work by Isaac Newton using diffraction through prisms demonstrated that light was composed of the visible spectrum, while findings of William Herschel in the 19th century showed that light also consisted of infrared rays. Joseph von Fraunhofer would later come to discover that by magnifying the spectrum of visible light, gaps in the spectrum would be observed. These Fraunhofer lines would later be determined to be caused by the absorption of light by electrons in moving between atomic orbitals when it passed through atoms, with each atom having a characteristic signature due to the quantum nature of these orbitals. This since has led to the core of astronomical spectroscopy, allowing astronomers to make observations about the composition of stars, planets, and other stellar features through the spectral lines, as well as observing the motion and expansion of the universe, and the existence of dark matter.
Category:Science Duration:43:00 Series: Cosmos 2014
Helen Czerski ventures beyond the visible spectrum in the final (and best) episode in this vibrant series, showing how electromagnetic radiation is so much broader than the narrow slice of reality we see with our eyes. Before delving into the details of UV, infrared and x-rays, Dr Czerski explores colour subjectivity by trying on a dress that recently divided the internet — to some it appeared blue and black, to others white and gold. It's a perfect fit. It's also a neat analogy of how people can have opposing views but both swear blind that their perspective is correct. The series ends with some amazing imaging techniques that show our bodies in a whole new light.
Category:Science Duration:59:00 Series: Colour The Spectrum of Science
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