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The Story of Maths The Language of the Universe
This four-part British television series outlines aspects of the history of mathematics. Written and presented by University of Oxford professor Marcus du Sautoy, it is a co-production between the Open University and the BBC. In the first episode, Marcus du Sautoy in Egypt uncovers use of a decimal system based on ten fingers of the hand and discovers that the way we tell the time is based on the Babylonian Base 60 number system. In Greece, he looks at the contributions of some of the giants of mathematics including Plato, Archimedes and Pythagoras, who is credited with beginning the transformation of mathematics from a counting tool into the analytical subject of today. A controversial figure, Pythagoras’ teachings were considered suspect and his followers seen as social outcasts and a little be strange and not in the norm. There is a legend going around that one of his followers, Hippasus, was drowned when he announced his discovery of irrational numbers. As well as his work on the properties of right angled triangles, Pythagoras developed another important theory after observing musical instruments. He discovered that the intervals between harmonious musical notes are always in whole number intervals.
The Story of Maths
Dinosaurs Myths and Monsters
From dinosaurs to mammoths, when our ancient ancestors encountered the fossil bones of extinct prehistoric creatures, what did they think they were? Just like us, ancient peoples were fascinated by the giant bones they found in the ground. Historian Tom Holland goes on a journey of discovery to explore the fascinating ways in which our ancestors sought to explain the remains of dinosaurs and other giant prehistoric creatures, and how bones and fossils have shaped and affected human culture.
In Classical Greece, petrified bones were exhibited in temples as the remains of a long-lost race of colossal heroes. Chinese tales of dragons may well have had their origins in the great fossil beds of the Gobi desert. In the Middle Ages, Christians believed that mysterious bones found in rock were the remains of giants drowned in Noah's Flood.
Tom encounters a medieval sculpture that is the first known reconstruction of a monster from a fossil, and learns about the Native Americans stories, told for generations, which contained clues that led bone hunters to some of the greatest dinosaur finds of the nineteenth century.
Attenborough and the Sea Dragon
A remarkable 200-million-year-old fossil - the bones of an ichthyosaur, a giant sea dragon - has been discovered on the Jurassic coast of Britain. David Attenborough joins the hunt to bring this ancient creature's story to life. Using state-of-the-art imaging technology and CGI, the team reconstruct the skeleton and create the most detailed animation of an ichthyosaur ever made. Along the way, the team stumble into a 200-million-year-old murder mystery - and only painstaking forensic investigation can unravel the story of this extraordinary creature's fate.
More Human Than Human
Embark on a thrilling journey through time and five continents to the heart of creativity. Fusing social history, politics, science, nature, archaeology and religion, this international landmark series unravels a universal mystery - why the world around us looks like it does. Modern-day mysteries are answered by journeying back to the beginning of civilisation via some of the most amazing man-made creations in the world. In the first episode, one image dominates our contemporary world above all others: the human body. How Art Made the World travels from the modern world of advertising to the temples of classical Greece and the tombs of ancient Egypt to solve the mystery of why humans surround themselves with images of the body that are so unrealistic.
How Art Made the World
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.
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