From the Film Australia Collection. Produced by the National Film Board 1948. Directed by Charles P Mountford. During his 1948 ethnographic expedition to Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory. Mountford filmed the traditional lifestyle of the coastal people of Yirrkala living as they had for thousands of years, depicting the ancestral fishing, hunting, building and boatmaking techniques. Presented here in consultation with representatives from the Yirrkala community and the Buku Larrnggay Mulka Centre.
Professor Iain Stewart tells a stunning new story about our planet. He reveals how the greatest changes to the Earth have been driven, above all, by plants
Asbestos, climate change, 5G, coronavirus – the public is caught in a battle for the truth. Science is being manipulated and undermined to sway opinion and create doubt. What are the mechanisms behind it all?
Never has scientific knowledge seemed so vast, detailed and widely shared. And yet it appears to be increasingly challenged.
It’s no longer surprising to see private corporations put strategies in place to confuse public debate and paralyze political decision-making. Why did it take decades to classify tobacco as harmful? Why do people still deny human involvement in climate change? Overwhelmed by an excess of information, how can we, as citizens, sort out fact from fiction?
One by one, this film dismantles the machinations that aim to turn science against itself. With the help of declassified archives and testimonies from experts, lobbyists and politicians, this investigation plunges us into the science of doubt. Along with a team of experts, including philosophers, economists, cognitive scientists, politicians, and scholars, we explore concrete examples of how doubt can be sown, and try to understand the process.
Daryl Davis is an accomplished musician who was played all over the world. He also has an unusual hobby, particularly for a middle aged black man. When not displaying his musical chops, Daryl likes to meet and befriend members of the Ku Klux Klan. When many of these people eventually leave the Klan with Daryl’s support, Daryl keeps their robes and hoods; building his collection piece by piece, story by story, person by person, in hopes of one day opening a museum of the Klan.
Michel Thomas spends 5 days with students who have previously failed to learn languages and, in the words of their teacher, they learn as much from Michel in those 5 days as they would normally learn in 5 years.
All without homework, writing or revision
Get up close and personal with Earth in a way you probably have never imagined. Down to the Earth’s Core takes viewers from the sidewalk to the centre of the planet in one epic unbroken shot. Using spectacular computer generated imagery; the camera smashes through almost 9 000 kilometres of solid rock to explore the hidden world beneath our feet. Experience an earthquake inside the San Andreas Fault, blast out of a volcano, encounter bizarre cave-dwelling creatures and enter caves full of giant crystals – all inside planet Earth. As the camera lowers into Earth’s bosom, the planet’s extraordinary story, is laid bare layer by layer, showing how prehistoric forests became modern-day fuel, witnessing the dinosaur’s cataclysmic death, and watching as stalactites form and gold grows before our eyes. Deeper, beyond the reach of any mine, any drill, we find wonders beyond imagination: towering molten metal tornadoes, forests of solid iron crystals, until we reach the strangest, least understood place on the planet – the core. To infinity and beyond, this is Earth like never before.
Air-conditioning, refrigeration, and superconductivity are just some of the ways technology has put cold to use. But what is cold, how do you achieve it, and how cold can it get? NOVA explores these and other facets of the frigid in two one-hour programs.
The two-part special follows the quest for cold from the unlikely father of air-conditioning, the court magician of King James I of England in the 17th century, to today’s scientists pioneering superfast computing in the quantum chill near absolute zero—the ultimate extreme of cold at minus 273.15 C (minus 460 F). (See A Sense of Scale to put this temperature in perspective.)
Along the way, viewers learn about the invention of thermometers, the origin of the ice business in 19th-century New England, Clarence Birdseye’s fishing trip that led to the invention of frozen food, and a couple of cold-inspired scientific races towards absolute zero that ended in Nobel Prizes.
NOVA brings the history of this frosty subject to life with historical recreations of great moments in low-temperature research and interviews with noted historians and scientists, including Simon Schaffer of the University of Cambridge, and Nobel laureates Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Wolfgang Ketterle of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The program is based on the definitive book on cold: Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold by Tom Shachtman. (See an excerpt.)
Part One, “The Conquest of Cold,” opens in the 1600s when the nature of cold and even heat were a complete mystery. Are they different phenomena or aspects of some unified feature of nature? Are they added to a substance or qualities of the substance itself? The experiments that settled these questions helped stoke the Industrial Revolution, which exploited such fundamental insights as that heat always flows from hot to cold. (Learn about the mysterious opposite to absolute zero.)
The key moments in cold in this episode include: Cornelius Drebbel’s spooky trick of turning summer into winter for the English king, achieved in much the way that homemade ice cream is produced; Antoine Lavoisier’s battle with Count Benjamin Rumford over the caloric theory of heat, an intellectual contest set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, in which Lavoisier unfortunately lost his head; and Michael Faraday’s explosive experiments to liquefy gases, which established the principles that make refrigerators possible. (For more, see Milestones in Cold Research and Anatomy of a Refrigerator.)
Part Two, “The Race For Absolute Zero,” picks up the story in the late 19th century, when researchers plunged cold science to new lows as they succeeded in reaching the forbidding realm at which oxygen and then nitrogen liquefy. (See if you can liquefy oxygen yourself.) The master of this technology was Scottish chemist James Dewar, who pursued the holy grail of the field—liquefying hydrogen at minus 253 C, just 20 degrees above absolute zero. When he succeeded, he faced the unexpected and even more daunting challenge of liquefying the newly discovered gas helium at a mere 5 degrees above absolute zero. However, he had a talented competitor—Dutch physicist Heike Onnes—and the ensuing race to the bottom of the temperature scale was as zealous as the contemporaneous race to the Earth’s poles.
The end of the 20th century produced another low-temperature contest. No one had ever seen an exotic form of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate, which only forms at temperatures vanishingly close to absolute zero. But new techniques developed in the 1990s by Daniel Kleppner at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology set the stage for a race to create this truly bizarre substance—and with it win the latest heat in the quest for cold.
The day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, a teacher in a small town in Iowa tried a daring classroom experiment. She decided to treat children with blue eyes as superior to children with brown eyes. FRONTLINE explores what those children learned about discrimination and how it still affects them today.
One of the most ambitious and exciting theories ever proposed—one that may be the long-sought “theory of everything,” which eluded even Einstein—gets a masterful, lavishly computer-animated explanation from bestselling author-physicist Brian Greene, when NOVA presents the nuts, bolts, and sometimes outright nuttiness of string theory.
Also known as superstring theory, the startling idea proposes that the fundamental ingredients of nature are inconceivably tiny strings of energy, whose different modes of vibration underlie everything that happens in the universe. The theory successfully unites the laws of the large—general relativity—and the laws of the small—quantum mechanics—breaking a conceptual logjam that has frustrated the world’s smartest scientists for nearly a century.
Trip through the creation of the Universe from the Bog Bang to the frontiers of science. Musical score from Brian Eno. Includes visits with great thinkers.