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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.

The Hunt For Higgs

   2012    Science
Go with us behind the scenes at CERN to follow one of the most epic and expensive scientific quests of all time: the search for the Higgs particle, believed to give mass to everything in our universe. However, the hunt for Higgs is part of a much grander search for how the universe works. It promises to help answer questions like why we exist and is a vital part of a Grand Unified Theory of nature". At the heart of the pursuit of the elusive particle is the same feature that makes snowflakes beautiful and human faces attractive: the simple and enchanting idea of symmetry. Presenter Jim Al-Khalil

Let there be Life

   2014    Science
Professor of physics Jim Al-Khalili investigates the most accurate and yet perplexing scientific theory ever - quantum physics, the perplexing theory of sub-atomic particles. Turning his attention to the world of nature, can quantum mechanics explain the greatest mysteries in biology? The European robin navigates using one of the most bizarre effects in physics - quantum entanglement, a process which seems to defy common sense. Jim finds that even the most personal of human experiences - our sense of smell - is touched by ethereal quantum vibrations. According to new experiments it seems that our quantum noses are listening to smells. Jim discovers that the most famous law of quantum physics - the uncertainty principle - is obeyed by plants and trees as they capture sunlight during the vital process of photosynthesis. Jim wonders if the strange laws of the sub-atomic world, which allow objects to tunnel through impassable barriers in defiance of common sense, could effect the mechanism by which living species evolve?
Series: The Secrets of Quantum Physics

Lost Horizons: The Big Bang

   2008    Science
Professor Jim Al Khalili from the University of Surrey delves into over 50 years of the BBC science archive to tell the story behind the emergence of one of the greatest theories of modern science, the Big Bang. The remarkable idea that our universe simply began from nothing has not always been accepted with the conviction it is today and, from fiercely disputed leftfield beginnings, took the best part of the 20th century to emerge as the triumphant explanation of how the universe began. Using curious horn-shaped antennas, U-2 spy planes, satellites and particle accelerators, scientists have slowly pieced together the cosmological jigsaw, and this documentary charts the overwhelming evidence for a universe created by a Big Bang.
How Earth Made Us
How Earth Made Us

   2010    Science
The Human Body
The Human Body

   1998    Medicine
The Story of the Jews
The Story of the Jews

   2013    History
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History
How to Grow a Planet
How to Grow a Planet

   2012    Science
Latino Americans
Latino Americans

   2013    History
Blue Planet II
Blue Planet II

   2017    Nature
Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial
Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial

      History