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Physics documentaries

The Fabric of the Cosmos, PBS NOVA – 4 episodes


Atom, BBC

The story of the discovery that everything is made from atoms, one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in history, and the brilliant minds behind it. Four episodes. Hosted by physicist Jim Al-Khalili.


Everything and Nothing

Professor Jim Al-Khalili searches for an answer to these questions as he explores the true size and shape of the universe and delves into the amazing science behind apparent nothingness. The first part, Everything, sees Professor Al-Khalili set out to discover what the universe might actually look like. The journey takes him from the distant past to the boundaries of the known universe. Part 2 is about quantum mechanics.


Light Fantastic

Light Fantastic 1 of 4 (BBC Documentary) Let There Be Light 1
The first episode shows how the desire, by Greek, Arab and Christian scholars to penetrate the divine nature of light led to modern science’s origins. The programme explores the contributions of Empedocles; Euclid; Al Hazen; Roger Bacon; Descartes and Isaac Newton.

Light Fantastic BBC Documentary Episode 2 Of 4 The Light of Reason
The second episode explores the link between the development of practical tools that manipulate light and the emergence of new ideas.

Light Fantastic 3 – The Stuff of Light (2004)
The third episode charts the discovery of the true nature of light and the subsequent development of modern technology such as electricity and mobile phones.

Light Fantastic BBC Documentary Episode 4 Of 4 Light the Universe and Everything
The final episode explores the relationship between light, the eye and the mind, photosynthsis and the development of technologies such as photography and cinema.

What if the Earth Stops Spinning? BBC

Earth rotates at around 1,670 km/h, but how important is this rotation to our lives? If this stopped suddenly the effects would be catastrophic, as Maddie Moate from Earth Unplugged explains. We and everything else not attached to the planet would be thrown sideways. Oceans would maintain momentum and a giant tsunami would spread water inland within a minute. But what would happen if the planet gradually came to a standstill? And what would happen if Earth started spinning in the opposite direction. Watch the video to find out.

Time (BBC Four)

In this four-programme series, string theory pioneer Michio Kaku goes on an extraordinary exploration of the world in search of time. He discovers our sense of time passing and the clocks that drive our bodies. He reveals the forces of time that make and destroy us in a lifetime. He journeys to some of the Earth’s most spectacular geological sites to look for clues to the extraordinary depths of time at a planetary level. Finally, he takes us on a cosmic journey in search of the beginning (and the end) of time itself.

Exobiology and astronomy

NOVA Finding Life Beyond Earth and Solar System

Take a trip to distant realms of our solar system to discover where secret forms of life may lie hidden. Combining the latest telescope images with dazzling animation, this program immerses audiences in the sights and sounds of alien worlds, while top astrobiologists explain how these places are changing how we think about the potential for life in our solar system. Telescopes and unmanned space missions have revealed a wide range of dynamic environments, atmospheres thick with organic molecules, active volcanoes, and vast saltwater oceans – forcing scientists to expand their ideas about what kinds of worlds could support life.


The Secret Life of Chaos.

Hosted by physicist Jim Al-Khalili. Chaos conjures up images of unpredictable weather, economic crashes and science gone wrong. But there is a fascinating side to Chaos… Professor Jim Al-Khalili sets out to uncover one of the great mysteries of science – how does a universe that starts off as dust end up with intelligent life? How does order emerge from disorder? The idea that chaos leads to order is a mindbending, counterintuitive and for many people a deeply troubling idea. But Professor Al-Khalili reveals the science behind much of beauty and structure in the natural world and discovers that far from it being magic or an act of God, it is in fact an intrinsic part of the laws of physics. Amazingly, it turns out that the mathematics of chaos can explain how and why the universe creates exquisite order and pattern.


The Story of 1

The story of the number one is the story of Western civilization. Terry Jones (“Monty Python’s Flying Circus”) goes on a humor-filled journey to recount the amazing tale behind the world’s simplest number. Using computer graphics, “One” is brought to life, in all his various guises, in STORY OF 1. One’s story reveals how celebrated civilizations in history were achieved, where our modern numbers came from and how the invention of zero changed the world forever – and saved us from having to use Roman numerals today.



NOVA: Fractals – Hunting the Hidden Dimension

“What do movie special effects, the stock market, and heart attacks have in common? They are connected by a revolutionary new branch of math called fractals, which changed the way we see the world and opened up a vast new territory to scientific analysis and understanding. Meet the mathematicians who developed fractals from a mere curiosity to an approach that touches nearly every branch of understanding, including the fate of our universe.”

NOVA: The Great Math Mystery

Is math made by humans or a feature of the universe? Discover math’s signature in the swirl of a nautilus shell, the whirlpool of a galaxy, and the spiral in the center of a sunflower. Math was essential to everything from the first wireless radio transmissions to the prediction and discovery of the Higgs boson and the successful landing of rovers on Mars. Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio, along with a colorful cast of mathematicians, physicists, and engineers, follow math from Pythagoras to Einstein and beyond. It all leads to the ultimate riddle: Is math a human invention or the discovery of the language of the universe?

Flatland: A Journey of Many Dimensions

A 36 minute film based on Edwin Abbott’s classic novel. Flatland is an entirely two-dimensional world where different shapes live, work, and play–all under the rule of the evil Circles who are determined to keep the third dimension a secret, at any cost. The story follows Arthur Square (Martin Sheen) and his curious granddaughter Hex (Kristen Bell). When the mysterious visitor Spherius (Michael York) arrives from Spaceland, Arthur and Hex face grave danger as they begin to come to terms with the truth of the third dimension. This film & book challenge audiences to grasp the limitations of their assumptions about reality and to think about the possibility of higher and previously inconceivable dimensions (both literal and metaphorical).

Flatland (DVD on Amazon)

Evolution of life

Walking with Prehistoric Life series
from The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC

Walking with Dinosaurs (1999)
This six-part series is focused on the rise, success, and the demise of the dinosaurs and other animals in the Mesozoic Era.

Walking with Beasts (2001)
This six-part series is a sequel to Walking with Dinosaurs, and its focus is on the world after the dinosaurs, and the rise of the mammals in the Cenozoic Era. It was released in the United States as Walking with Prehistoric Beasts.

Walking with Cavemen (2003)
This four-part series recounts the evolution of humans.

Sea Monsters (Chased By Sea Monsters) (2003)
In this three-part series, real-life zoologist Nigel Marven travels through time to encounter many prehistoric marine creatures that lived during, before, and after dinosaurs. In the United States it was titled Chased by Sea Monsters.

Walking with Monsters (2005)
This three-part series is a prequel to Walking with Dinosaurs, and its focus is life before the dinosaurs, in the Paleozoic Era. It was released in the United States as Before the Dinosaurs.


Before We Ruled the Earth (2003). Two part documentary television miniseries 2003 on the Discovery Channel. The program featured early human history and the challenges human beings faced thousands of years ago. It also features animals examples such as: Woolly mammoth, Megantereon, American buffalo, cave bear, and Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus).


NOVA: Cracking the Code of Life

Chronicles the fiercely competitive race to capture one of the biggest scientific prizes ever: the complete letter-by-letter sequence of genetic information that defines human life—the human genome. NOVA tells the story of the genome triumph and its profound implications for medicine and human health.

NOVA: Origins

Has the universe always existed? How did it become a place that could harbor life? What was the birth of our planet like? Are we alone, or are there alien worlds waiting to be discovered? NOVA presents some startling new answers in “Origins,” a groundbreaking four-part NOVA miniseries hosted by dynamic astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson,



Engineers are using origami to design drugs, micro-robots, and future space missions.

Building Big – PBS mini-series

The Race Underground: The American Experience. PBS

Introduction: The Race Underground

Main page: The Race Underground

Slide Show: The Race underground Boston in the early 1900’s

Video: The Race Underground, Chapter 1: Building Boston’s Subways

Engineering An Empire: The History Channel

Da Vinci’s World – Engineering An Empire

Earth Science/Geology

Experience the colossal geologic forces that shaped our continent over 3 billion years.

NOVA: Making North America: Origins


Planet of the Humans: A critique of the documentary

A critique of Planet of the Humans, a 2020 documentary film by Michael Moore which implies that renewable energy is a hoax that helps the fossil fuel industry, something which the scientific community disagrees with.

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