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Neutrino: Hunting the Ghost Particle
Inside the world-renowned physics laboratory Fermilab, a team of scientists are constructing an audacious experiment to hunt for a mysterious new ‘ghost’ neutrino. If they find it, this could transform our understanding of the nature and fabric of our universe. The problem is, these tiny particles are almost impossible to detect.
Elsewhere, physicists conduct experiments in some of the most extreme environments on the planet: from deep mine shafts in South Dakota to vast ice fields at the South Pole. In these unlikely places supersized neutrino detectors hope to unlock the universe’s deepest secrets. Could neutrinos overturn the most precise theory of particle physics that humans have ever written down? Could they even be a link to a hidden realm of new particles that permeate the cosmos – so called dark matter? Scientists at Fermilab are edging towards the truth.
Weirder and Weirder
Dr Hannah Fry explores a paradox at the heart of modern maths, discovered by Bertrand Russell, which undermines the very foundations of logic that all of maths is built on. These flaws suggest that maths isn't a true part of the universe but might just be a human language - fallible and imprecise. However, Hannah argues that Einstein's theoretical equations, such as E=mc2 and his theory of general relativity, are so good at predicting the universe that they must be reflecting some basic structure in it. This idea is supported by Kurt Godel, who proved that there are parts of maths that we have to take on faith.
Hannah then explores what maths can reveal about the fundamental building blocks of the universe - the subatomic, quantum world. The maths tells us that particles can exist in two states at once, and yet quantum physics is at the core of photosynthesis and therefore fundamental to most of life on earth - more evidence of discovering mathematical rules in nature. But if we accept that maths is part of the structure of the universe, there are two main problems: firstly, the two main theories that predict and describe the universe - quantum physics and general relativity - are actually incompatible; and secondly, most of the maths behind them suggests the likelihood of something even stranger - multiple universes.
We may just have to accept that the world really is weirder than we thought, and Hannah concludes that while we have invented the language of maths, the structure behind it all is something we discover. And beyond that, it is the debate about the origins of maths that has had the most profound consequences: it has truly transformed the human experience, giving us powerful new number systems and an understanding that now underpins the modern world.
Is the Force With Us
Morgan Freeman continues to challenge audiences to think about daring topics in the last season of Through the Wormhole. In the part 1, new research is beginning to reveal a hidden force in the universe - one that penetrates space with trillions of invisible connections, instantly linking every place in our world and joining our future with our past. Is the Force with us?
Through the Wormhole Season 8
The Hunt For Higgs
Go with us behind the scenes at CERN to follow one of the most epic and expensive scientific quests of all time: the search for the Higgs particle, believed to give mass to everything in our universe. However, the hunt for Higgs is part of a much grander search for how the universe works. It promises to help answer questions like why we exist and is a vital part of a Grand Unified Theory of nature". At the heart of the pursuit of the elusive particle is the same feature that makes snowflakes beautiful and human faces attractive: the simple and enchanting idea of symmetry. Presenter Jim Al-Khalil
Let there be Life
Professor of physics Jim Al-Khalili investigates the most accurate and yet perplexing scientific theory ever - quantum physics, the perplexing theory of sub-atomic particles. Turning his attention to the world of nature, can quantum mechanics explain the greatest mysteries in biology? The European robin navigates using one of the most bizarre effects in physics - quantum entanglement, a process which seems to defy common sense. Jim finds that even the most personal of human experiences - our sense of smell - is touched by ethereal quantum vibrations. According to new experiments it seems that our quantum noses are listening to smells. Jim discovers that the most famous law of quantum physics - the uncertainty principle - is obeyed by plants and trees as they capture sunlight during the vital process of photosynthesis. Jim wonders if the strange laws of the sub-atomic world, which allow objects to tunnel through impassable barriers in defiance of common sense, could effect the mechanism by which living species evolve?
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