YEAR: 2010 | LENGTH: 6 parts (60 minutes each)
DESCRIPTION: Michael Mosley takes an informative and ambitious journey exploring how the evolution of scientific understanding is intimately interwoven with society’s historical path. – source
Michael Mosley embarks on an informative and ambitious journey exploring how the evolution of scientific understanding is intimately interwoven with society’s historical path.
Michael begins with the story of one of the great upheavals in human history, how we came to understand that our planet was not at the centre of everything in the cosmos but just one of billions of bodies in a vast and expanding universe.
He reveals the critical role of medieval astrologers in changing our view of the heavens, and the surprising connections to the upheavals of the Renaissance, the growth of coffee shops and Californian oil and railway barons.
Michael shows how important the practical skills of craftsmen have been to this story and finds out how Galileo made his telescope to peer at the heavens and by doing so helped change our view of the universe forever.
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 to the creation of the world’s first synthetic dye – mauve – 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.
We are the most power-hungry generation that has ever lived. This film tells the story of how that power has been harnessed – from wind, steam and from inside the atom. In the early years the drive for new sources of power was led by practical men who wanted to make money. Their inventions and ideas created fortunes and changed the course of history, but it took centuries for science to catch up, to explain what power is, rather than simply what it does. This search revealed fundamental laws of nature which apply across the universe, including the most famous equation in all of science, e=mc2.
We now know that the brain – the organ that more than any other makes us human – is one of the wonders of the universe, and yet until the 17th century it was barely studied.
The twin sciences of brain anatomy and psychology have offered different visions of who we are. Now these sciences are coming together and in the process have revealed some surprising and uncomfortable truths about what really shapes our thoughts, feelings and desires.
And the search to understand how our brains work has also revealed that we are all – whether we realise it or not – carrying out science from the moment we are born.