Last Watched

"Atom"  Sort by

Hiding in the Light

   2014    Science
This episode explores the wave theory of light as studied by mankind, noting that light has played an important role in scientific progress, with such early experiments from over 2000 years ago involving the camera obscura by the Chinese philosopher Mozi. Tyson describes the work of the 11th century Arabic scientist Ibn al-Haytham, considered to be one of the first to postulate on the nature of light and optics leading to the concept of the telescope, as well as one of the first researchers to use the scientific method. Tyson proceeds to discuss the nature of light as discovered by mankind. Work by Isaac Newton using diffraction through prisms demonstrated that light was composed of the visible spectrum, while findings of William Herschel in the 19th century showed that light also consisted of infrared rays. Joseph von Fraunhofer would later come to discover that by magnifying the spectrum of visible light, gaps in the spectrum would be observed. These Fraunhofer lines would later be determined to be caused by the absorption of light by electrons in moving between atomic orbitals when it passed through atoms, with each atom having a characteristic signature due to the quantum nature of these orbitals. This since has led to the core of astronomical spectroscopy, allowing astronomers to make observations about the composition of stars, planets, and other stellar features through the spectral lines, as well as observing the motion and expansion of the universe, and the existence of dark matter.
Series: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still

   2014    Science
This episodes the nature of the cosmos on the micro and atomic scales, using the Ship of the Imagination to explore these realms. Tyson describes some of the micro-organism that live within a dew drop, demonstrating parameciums and tardigrades. He proceeds to discuss how plants use photosynthesis via their chloroplasts to convert sunlight into chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and energy-rich sugars. Tyson then discusses the nature of molecules and atoms and how they relate to the evolution of species. He uses the example set forth by Charles Darwin postulating the existence of the long-tongued Morgan's sphinx moth based on the nature of the comet orchid with pollen far within the flower. He further demonstrates that scents from flowers are used to trigger olfactory centers in the brain, stimulating the mind to threats as to aid in the survival of the species. Tyson narrates how Greek philosophers Thales and Democritus postulated that all matter was made up of combinations of atoms in a large number of configurations, and describes how carbon forms the basic building block for life on earth due to its unique chemical nature. Tyson explains on the basic atomic structure of protons, neutrons, and electrons, and the nature of nuclear fusion that occurs in most stars. He then discusses the existence of neutrinos that are created by these nuclear processes in stars, and that detecting such sub-atomic particles which normally pass through matter require subterranean facilities like the Super-Kamiokande that were used to detect neutrinos from the supernova SN 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud before light from the explosion were observed due to their ability to pass through matter of the dying sun. Tyson compares how neutrinos were postulated by Wolfgang Pauli to account for the conservation of energy from nuclear reactions in the same manner as Darwin's postulate on the long-tongued moth. Tyson concludes by noting that there are neutrinos from the Big Bang still existing in the universe but due to the nature of light, there is a "wall of infinity" that cannot be observed beyond.
Series: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

Hiroshima 2 of 2

   2005    Technology
It was the defining moment of the 20th Century - the scientific, technological, military, and political gamble of the world's first atomic attack. This drama-documentary attempts to do what no other film has done before - to show what it is like to live through a nuclear explosion, millisecond by millisecond. Set in the three weeks from the first test explosion in New Mexico to the eventual dropping of the bomb, the action takes viewers into the room where the crucial political decisions are made; on board the Enola Gay on her fateful voyage; inside the bomb as it explodes; and on the streets of Hiroshima when disaster strikes. Parallel storylines interweave, unfolding the action from both US and Japanese perspectives, and revealing the tensions and conflicts in the actions and minds of people who were making history. Special effects recreate the reality of the mission - even going inside the workings of the bomb - and archive film replays the horrific aftermath.
Series: Hiroshima

Is Luck Real

   2014    Science
Do you make your own luck, or does luck make you? Some scientists believe luck is strictly a matter of statistics and probabilities…but others believe unseen forces are at work, and randomness is built into every particle of the universe. We’ll find luck, good and bad, in casinos, basketball courts, genetics labs and the subatomic world. How much does the genetic lottery rule your fate? Are lucky streaks and unfortunate accidents merely our own minds fooling us? It’s a scientific journey that will radically revise your understanding of the laws of nature and the workings of the human brain.
Series: Through the Wormhole Season 5

The Bomb

   2012    History
The series is a re-examination of some of the under-reported and darkest parts of American modern history using little known documents and newly uncovered archival material, looking beyond official versions of events to the deeper causes and implications and exploring how events from the past still have resonant themes for the present day. This episode addresses the historical backround, consequences and reasons behind the use of atomic bombs against the Japanese in the second world war.
Series: The Untold History of the United States

What is the World Made of

   2010    History
In this episode, Michael demonstrates how our society is built on our search to find the answer to what makes up everything in the material world. This is a story that moves from the secret labs of the alchemists and their search for gold by the stone of the philosophers to the creation of the world's first synthetic dye - Purple - and onto the invention of the transistor. This quest may seem abstract and highly theoretical. Yet it has delivered the greatest impact on humanity. By trying to answer this question, scientists have created theories from elements to atoms, and the strange concepts of quantum physics that underpin our modern, technological world.
Series: The Story of Science
The Universe Season 8

The Universe Season 8

   2016    Science
History of the Eagles

History of the Eagles

   2013    History
Dangerous knowledge

Dangerous knowledge

   2007    Science
Reel Rock

Reel Rock

   2015    Culture
Reel Rock

Reel Rock

   2014    Culture