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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

The Backbone of Night

   1980    Science
Carl Sagan teaches students in a classroom in his childhood home in Brooklyn, New York, which leads into a history of the different mythologies about stars and the gradual revelation of their true nature. In ancient Greece, some philosophers (Aristarchus of Samos, Thales of Miletus, Anaximander, Theodorus of Samos, Empedocles, Democritus) freely pursue scientific knowledge, while others (Plato, Aristotle, and the Pythagoreans) advocate slavery and epistemic secrecy.
Series: Cosmos

The Spiral

   2012    Science
The Pythagorian philosopher Plato hinted enigmatically that there was a golden key that unified all of the mysteries of the universe. It is this golden key that we will return to time and again throughout our exploration. The golden key is the intelligence of the logos, the source of the primordial om. One could say that it is the mind of God. With our limited senses we are observing only the outer manifestation of the hidden mechanics of self similarity. The source of this divine symmetry is the greatest mystery of our existence.
Series: Inner Worlds Outer Worlds
Neanderthal
Neanderthal

      History
Woody Allen A Documentary
Woody Allen A Documentary

   2011    History
The Incredible Human Journey
The Incredible Human Journey

   2009    History
Absolute Zero
Absolute Zero

   2007    Technology
A History of Christianity
A History of Christianity

   2011    History
Becoming Human
Becoming Human

   2010    History
Cosmos 2014
Cosmos 2014

   2014    Science
Human Universe
Human Universe

   2014    History