Physicist Jim Al-Khalili travels through Syria, Iran, Tunisia and Spain to tell the story of the great leap in scientific knowledge that took place in the Islamic world between the 8th and 14th centuries. Its legacy is tangible, with terms like algebra, algorithm and alkali all being Arabic in origin and at the very heart of modern science - there would be no modern mathematics or physics without algebra, no computers without algorithms and no chemistry without alkalis. For Baghdad-born Al-Khalili, this is also a personal journey, and on his travels he uncovers a diverse and outward-looking culture, fascinated by learning and obsessed with science. From the great mathematician Al-Khwarizmi, who did much to establish the mathematical tradition we now know as algebra, to Ibn Sina, a pioneer of early medicine whose Canon of Medicine was still in use as recently as the 19th century, Al-Khalili pieces together a remarkable story of the often-overlooked achievements of the early medieval Islamic scientists.
Category:History Duration:58:38 Series: Science and Islam
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
It is one of the most unnerving discoveries in space science - that most of the universe is missing. We live in a material world, so instinctively we know what normal matter is - the world around us, the planets, stars and interstellar dust. But scientists currently estimate that 95 per cent of everything in the universe is actually - one way or another - invisible. Some of this is ordinary matter that we just can't easily see. But there's also stuff that's much more weird. For instance, there's a new kind of matter we think is out there, but whose very existence is still largely hypothetical - dark matter. And most mysteriously of all, scientists think there is an unknown form of energy pervading the universe that we know so little about, all it has so far is a name - dark energy. Embark on a tour of this invisible universe, and shows how its existence - or lack of it - will define the fate of the entire universe.
Category:Science Duration:28:28 Series: The Sky at Night
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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