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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.
Dangerous Knowledge: God messenger
brilliant mathematicians, whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide. Georg Cantor, the great mathematician whose work proved to be the foundation for much of the 20th-century mathematics. He believed he was God's messenger and was eventually driven insane trying to prove his theories of infinity. Ludwig Boltzmann's struggle to prove the existence of atoms and probability eventually drove him to suicide.
Dangerous Knowledge: The Enigma
brilliant mathematicians whose genius has profoundly affected us, but which tragically drove them insane and eventually led to them all committing suicide. Kurt Gödel, the introverted confidant of Einstein, proved that there would always be problems which were outside human logic. His life ended in a sanatorium where he starved himself to death. Finally, Alan Turing, the great Bletchley Park code breaker, father of computer science and homosexual, died trying to prove that some things are fundamentally unprovable.
This series deals with two of the deepest questions there are - what is everything, and what is nothing? In two epic, surreal and mind-expanding films, Professor Jim Al-Khalili searches for an answer to these questions as he explores the true size and shape of the universe and delves into the amazing science behind apparent nothingness. The first part, Everything, sees Professor Al-Khalili set out to discover what the universe might actually look like. The journey takes him from the distant past to the boundaries of the known universe. Along the way he charts the remarkable stories of the men and women who discovered the truth about the cosmos and investigates how our understanding of space has been shaped by both mathematics and astronomy.
Everything and Nothing
Dr Hannah Fry travels down the fastest zip wire in the world to learn more about Newton's ideas on gravity. His discoveries revealed the movement of the planets was regular and predictable. James Clerk Maxwell unified the ideas of electricity and magnetism, and explained what light was. As if that wasn't enough, he also predicted the existence of radio waves. His tools of the trade were nothing more than pure mathematics. All strong evidence for maths being discovered.
But in the 19th century, maths is turned on its head when new types of geometry are invented. No longer is the kind of geometry we learned in school the final say on the subject. If maths is more like a game, albeit a complicated one, where we can change the rules, surely this points to maths being something we invent - a product of the human mind. To try and answer this question, Hannah travels to Halle in Germany on the trail of perhaps one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, Georg Cantor. He showed that infinity, far from being infinitely big, actually comes in different sizes, some bigger than others. This increasingly weird world is feeling more and more like something we've invented. But if that's the case, why is maths so uncannily good at predicting the world around us? Invented or discovered, this question just got a lot harder to answer.
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