This ten part history of mathematics reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.
Today, how the mathematics that Leonard Euler invented two hundred years ago has transformed the internet. Euler's solution to an eighteeneth century conundrum paved the way for the search engines most of us use every day
Today how the mathematics of the French revolutionary, Evariste Galois, has proved invaluable to particle physicists working today.The mathematics that Galois began, over two hundred years ago, now absolutely describes the fundamental particles that make up our universe.
Today, the pioneering nineteenth century mathematicians who helped Albert Einstien with his maths: Jonas Bolyai, Nicolas Loachevski and Bernhard Riemann. Without the mathematics to describe curved space and multiple dimensions, the theory of relativity doesn't really work.
Today, Georg Cantor, the mathematician who showed us how to carry on counting when the numbers run out. An insight into the nature of infinity that Roger Penrose believes helps to explain why the human brain will always be cleverer than artificial intelligence.
Today, G.H.Hardy, the mathematician who insisted he had never done anything useful. And yet his work on the "diabolical malice" inherent in prime numbers inspired the millions of codes that now help to keep the internet safe.
Today, the mathematician that never was, Nicolas Bourbaki. A group of French mathematicians, working between the two world wars and writing under the pseudonym Nicolas Bourbaki transformed their discipline and paved the way for several mathematical breakthroughs in the 21st century.
The universe will die. The sun and other stars like it will throw out heat until they have no more energy to burn. The big bang threw everything outwards at a massive rate. As it gets bigger, so the gaps between matter get bigger and are filled with "dark energy". Instead of gravity pulling everything back down to a "big crunch" the dark energy accelerates the expansion process, pushing everything further apart faster and faster. In the end everything will be a cold, sad, blackness as the stars all go out, or are too far apart for us to see anything - but "us" will be long gone.
A strange subatomic particle produced in an atom-smashing experiment here on earth could, theoretically, tumble to the centre of the planet and start eating the planet from the inside out - death by industrial accident. Or a random quantum fluctuation in distant space could switch off the machinery that makes matter big, and this would send a bubble of destruction moving at the speed of light and shutting down all creation in its path. All of the ideas explored in this series suggest that the future is not rosy - that the universe is going to end and that we will end along with it...or can we escape?
A series exploring how our ideas about the end of the universe have been shaped by religion, belief, and the contemporary state of scientific thinking and observation. The series is presented by Vatican Astronomer, Brother Guy Consolmagno. He is a Jesuit astro-physicist who came to religion via science and his wonder at the universe. At the Vatican Observatory in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, he compares cutting edge cosmology with Chinese, Ancient Greek, Buddhist, Medieval and Victorian ideas about the end of everything.
It will die. Like a ball thrown into the air, no matter how fast the acceleration to begin with, gravity always wins. The universe will reach a critical mass, then start to fall back in on itself. This is the big crunch theory. The power of gravity wins out over the accelerating power throwing everything outwards. Microseconds from the end, black holes begin to merge with each other, little different from the collapsing state of the surrounding universe. The implosion becomes increasingly powerful, crushing all matter and every physical thing out of existence. Space and time end - there is eternal nothingness beyond this point, unless...
Yes the universe will end, but at the crunch the process starts all over again, and could go on forever (cf. Hindu and Buddhist ideas of re-birth). Another possibility is "multiverses" - there are lots of different universes, all in different states of existence, some at moment of big bang, but will never become a universe as we know it, so grow to the size of a grape and shrink back, or expand outwards and never turn into frothy, lumpy matter - just a thin soup with no life in them. Our universe is perfect…not too fast to become a soup and not too slow so it falls back in on itself to destruct - just lumpy enough for galaxies to form and the whole thing hold together - a balancing act between gravity and acceleration, for the time being.
Classicist Bettany Hughes continues her journey through the beauty and the blood-letting of Renaissance Florence. Could it be that the Renaissance as we know it wasn't a renaissance at all? Could Donatello's David really be a political statement for the Medici? And what has Liverpool got to do with it? Bettany finds that the Renaissance is more than it's cracked up to be.
Historian Bettany Hughes concludes her journey through the beauty and the blood of renaissance Florence. This week she finds that, contrary to popular belief, it was smart women, gay men and false gods who made the corner stones of western civilisation
In the second series of An Earth Made for Life Gabrielle Walker continues her quest to understand why complex life is found on our planet, but not on any of our celestial neighbours. From the outback of Australia to the walls of the Grand Canyon Gabrielle unearths evidence of the dramatic changes that took place on our planet billions of years ago which may have triggered the rise of animals.
Professor of Genetics Steve Jones challenges evolutionary psychology, the controversial new science of how our brains and minds developed.
Girls like pink better because in Stone Age times they needed to be good at picking berries and women have better sex with rich men - or so some evolutionary psychologists would have us believe. Critics say this isn't science, but conjecture.
Evolutionary psychology seeks to explain human behaviour from the hunter-gatherers or our nearest relatives, the chimpanzee, and has some seductively simple theories. One argument is that we have Stone Age brains in 21st-century skulls, from which we can account for everything from the violence that men show to their stepchildren to why racism exists. Is evolutionary psychology a truly useful addition to the canon of ideas to come out of Darwinian evolution or a just-so science that can be adjusted to suit the researchers' prejudices?
Steve Jones examines the history of the new science, the methods used and asks if it can explain the human drive to language, religion and culture.
Professor of Genetics Steve Jones challenges the controversial science of evolutionary psychology.
Evolutionary psychologists say human behaviour, such as who we marry, when we have children and even the quality of our sex lives, can be explained by having a Stone Age brain in a 21st century body.
Professor Jones examines the scientific evidence for such claims and asks if we should be worried if contentious theories escape the world of science and enter the arena of social policy.
Penny Marshall tells the story of how the battle for birth has been waged between women, doctors and midwives over the last two centuries.
This war has shaped the maternity services in the UK today.
Penny talks to midwives, obstetricians, mothers and policy makers about the battles that have been fought to give women the maternity care they want.
With drama and flair, novelist Keneally illuminates the birth of New South Wales in 1788, richly evoking the social conditions in London, miserable sea voyage and the desperate conditions of the new colony. His tale revolves around Arthur Phillips, the ambitious captain in the Royal Navy who would become the first governor of New South Wales
A gripping story of a child’s journey through hell and back. There may be as many as 300,000 child soldiers, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s, in more than fifty conflicts around the world. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. He is one of the first to tell his story in his own words. In this book, Beah, tells a riveting story. At the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. Eventually released by the army and sent to a UNICEF rehabilitation center, he struggled to regain his humanity and to reenter the world of civilians, who viewed him with fear and suspicion. This is, at last, a story of redemption and hope
Published to coincide with the thirty-fifth anniversary of Jimi Hendrix's death, Room Full of Mirrors gives full voice to the music that continues to enthrall each successive generation of rock fans. Hendrix's colorful, tumultuous life is brilliantly detailed in Charles Cross's latest rock bio
Beatrix Potter, the twentieth century's most beloved children's writer and illustrator, created books that will forever conjure nature for millions. Yet though she is a household name around the world, her personal life and her other significant achievements remain largely unknown. This remarkable new biography is a voyage of discovery into the story of an extraordinary woman. At a time when plunder was more popular than preservation, she brought nature back into the English imagination. "Beatrix Potter: A Life In Nature" reveals a strong, humorous and independent woman, whose art was timeless, and whose generosity left an indelible imprint on the countryside.