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Fractals Hunting the Hidden Dimension

   2010    Science
The ultimate adventure in scientific inquiry, this fascinating program follows the exploits of a small group of pioneering mathematicians who discovered a whole area of study that is revolutionizing all branches of understanding in the world: fractal geometry. Fractals are most recognized as a series of circular shapes with a border surrounded by jagged "tail-like" objects. The program, aimed at the average viewer does a fine job of explaining the background of fractals, first by beginning with the story of Pixar co-founder, Loren Carpenter's work at Boeing, developing 3D terrain from scratch using fractals. From there the program starts at the beginning with an introduction to Benoit Mandelbrot and his revolutionary work. The explanations are full of solid factual information but never talk above the level of a viewer who has some understanding of basic mathematical principles. Once the concept is presented the program spends the rest of the time showing how prevalent the fractal is in life. For a program about a mathematical concept, "Fractals" is very engaging, showing how the process was applied to special effects as far back as the Genesis planet from "Star Trek II" all the way to the spectacular finale on Mustafar in "Star Wars: Episode III." I found myself astonished at how fractals were the source of the lava in constant motion and action during the Obi-Wan/Anakin fight. What is more amazing is when the program delves into practical applications such as cell phone antennas, and eventually the human body. For the average person who enjoys watching science related programs, even on a sporadic basis, "Fractals" will prove to be a very worthwhile experience. The program is well produced, integrating talking head interviews (including some with Mandelbrot himself) with standard "in the field" footage. The structure of the program is very logical and never finds itself jumping around without direction. In simplest terms, this is a program as elegant as the designs it focuses on.

Ghosts of the Abyss

   2003    Technology    3D
Director James Cameron returns to the site of the 1912 wreck of the RMS Titanic. With a team of history and marine experts he embarks on an unscripted adventure back to the final grave of 1,517 people. Using two small, purpose-built remotely operated vehicles, we can see inside the Titanic and with the help of CGI, view the ship's original appearance superimposed on the deep-dive images. Throughout the movie, there are re-enactments of events that are discussed that use CGI recreations of the interior of the Titanic. The documentary was named one of the Best 3D movies ever by Rolling Stone.

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.

Human Universe: What is our Future

   2014    Technology
Professor Brian Cox concludes his exploration of humanity's place in the cosmos by examining what the future holds. In Florida, he learns about the latest efforts to protect Earth from potential catastrophic events and joins a team of Nasa astronauts who are in a submerged laboratory that simulates space as they train for a future mission to an asteroid - should one ever be discovered heading to Earth. At the National Ignition Facility in California, the physicist witnesses the world's most successful fusion experiment in action, one which he believes may unlock a way to the stars that will not destroy the planet in the process.
Series: Human Universe

Invisible Universe Revealed 25 years of Hubble

   2015    Technology
25 years ago, NASA launched one of the most ambitious experiments in the history of astronomy: the Hubble Space Telescope. In honor of Hubble's landmark anniversary, know the remarkable story of the telescope that forever changed our understanding of the cosmos and our place in it". But amazingly, when the telescope first sent images back to earth, it seemed that the entire project was a massive failure; a one-millimeter engineering blunder had turned the billion-dollar telescope into an object of ridicule. It fell to five heroic astronauts in a daring mission to return Hubble to the cutting edge of science. Hear from the scientists and engineers on the front line who tell the amazing Hubble story as never before. This single telescope has helped astronomers pinpoint the age of the universe, revealed the birthplace of stars and planets, advanced our understanding of dark energy and cosmic expansion, and uncovered black holes lurking at the heart of galaxies. For more than a generation, Hubble's stunning images have brought the beauty of the heavens to millions, revealing a cosmos richer and more wondrous than we ever imagined. Join us for the story of this magnificent machine and its astonishing discoveries.
Life in the Freezer
Life in the Freezer

   1993    Nature
The Crusades
The Crusades

   2012    History
The Hunt
The Hunt

   2015    Nature
Neanderthal
Neanderthal

      History
Prehistoric America
Prehistoric America

   2003    Nature
Space
Space

   2001    Science
Magic Numbers
Magic Numbers

   2018    Science
The Real History of Science Fiction
The Real History of Science Fiction

   2014    Technology