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Physics documentaries

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007x243

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.

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/everything-and-nothing/

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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdK9IrP52bE

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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Eonm_8VrUU

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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuGjo9oNqao

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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QR3waUOWs8

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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-FLa0RKo5c

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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH3bmG-KjvU

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.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007w6qz

 

Mathematics

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00pv1c3

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qevpRffg6wc

http://docuwiki.net/index.php?title=The_Story_of_1

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)

 

Biology

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.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/cracking-the-code-of-life.html

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,

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/origins-series-overview.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJQ4r81DZtY

 

 

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