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Numbers as God

   2018    Science
Mathematician Dr Hannah Fry explores the mystery of maths. It underpins so much of our modern world that it's hard to imagine life without its technological advances, but where exactly does maths come from? Is it invented like a language or is it something discovered and part of the fabric of the universe? It's a question that some of the most eminent mathematical minds have been wrestling with. To investigate this question, Hannah goes head first down the fastest zip wire in the world to learn more about Newton's law of gravity, she paraglides to understand where the theory of maths and its practice application collide, and she travels to infinity and beyond to discover that some infinities are bigger than others.
In this episode, Hannah goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks to find out why they were so fascinated by the connection between beautiful music and maths. The patterns our ancestors found in music are all around us, from the way a sunflower stores its seeds to the number of petals in a flower. Even the shapes of some of the smallest structures in nature, such as viruses, seem to follow the rules of maths. All strong evidence for maths being discovered. But there are those who claim maths is all in our heads and something we invented. To find out if this is true, Hannah has her brain scanned. It turns out there is a place in all our brains where we do maths, but that doesn't prove its invented.
Experiments with infants, who have never had a maths lesson in their lives, suggests we all come hardwired to do maths. Far from being a creation of the human mind, this is evidence for maths being something we discover. Then along comes the invention of zero to help make counting more convenient and the creation of imaginary numbers, and the balance is tilted in the direction of maths being something we invented. The question of whether maths is invented or discovered just got a whole lot more difficult to answer
Series: Magic Numbers

Ruling by the Book

   2012    Art
Dr Janina Ramirez unlocks the secrets of illuminated manuscripts that were custom-made for kings and explores the medieval world they reveal. 'Ruling by the Book.' Janina begins her journey with the first Anglo-Saxon rulers to create a united England, encountering books in the British Library's Royal manuscripts collection which are over a thousand years old and a royal family tree which is five metres long.
Janina finds out about a king who had a reputation for chasing nuns and reads a book created as a wedding gift for a ten-year-old prince. She roams from Westminster Abbey to other ancient English spiritual sites such as Winchester, St Albans and Malmesbury, and sees for herself how animal skins can be transformed into the finest vellum.
Series: Illuminations: the private lives of medieval kings

Angkor Land of the Gods

   2011    Art    3D
Buddhists, Hindus, and hundreds of thousands of travellers from around the globe flock to Cambodia every year to experience the grandeur of Angkor. Its famous temples were built over the span of five centuries by the rulers of the Khmer Empire, and endure today as one of Earth's greatest archaeological wonders. Join us as we shed light on one of the most enigmatic, mesmerizing civilizations in the history of mankind. We peel away the myth and legend to uncover the hidden story behind the creation of this ancient city.
Angkor Wat is the largest temple on the face of the Earth and is a symbol of one of the greatest empires in the history of Southeast Asia. And yet, for centuries, the sacred structure remained lost within the tropical forests of Cambodia, along with the history of the young king who built the temple. Discover the story of Suryavarman II and how he ushered in the golden age of the Khmer Empire. See how Angkor Wat was constructed over four backbreaking decades, and witness the monument in its true glory and splendour, as it appeared 900 years ago.

Rise of Civilization

   2016    History
The Bronze Age covers 2,000 years of history in the Aegean/Mediterranean, Egypt and Near East from roughly 3000 BC to 1000 BC. New animations produced by Pixeldust include the reconstruction of four ancient capitals, including the Egyptian city of Thebes and the early Greek capital of Mycenae. What singled out this period and the new societies and cities that emerged? The development of formal writing is one among several important factors.
Series: Bronze Age

The Lost Gardens of Babylon

   2014    History
Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Hanging Garden of Babylon is the most elusive of these constructions of classical antiquity. While traces have been found of the Great Pyramid of Gaza, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse of Alexandria, centuries of digging have turned up nothing about the lost gardens of Babylon – until now.
Why, in the nearly 3,000 years since the gardens were presumably built, has no archeological evidence ever been found to support their existence? Is the Hanging Garden of Babylon a myth or a mystery to be solved?
Travel with Dr. Stephanie Dalley of Oxford University’s Oriental Institute and author of The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon, to one of the most dangerous places on earth, as she sets out to answer these questions and prove not only that the gardens did exist, but also identify where they most likely were located, describe what they looked like and explain how they were constructed.
Series: Secrets of the Dead
Through the Wormhole
Through the Wormhole

   2011    Science


   2013    Culture
The Story of India
The Story of India

   2007    History

   2009    Nature
Living Universe
Living Universe

   2018    Technology
Enemies of Reason
Enemies of Reason