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Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts

May 1, 2019

In the Womb: Multiples (2007)


Advanced technology, groundbreaking scientific discoveries about the beginnings of life, and computer animation all combine to detail how multiple siblings develop in the womb as the filmmakers at National Geographic explore the fetal growth of twins, triplets, and quadruplets. Detailed pictures of these different groupings in various stages of fetal development bring the earliest stages of life to the screen as never before.

In addition to shining a light on the amazing process of development a fetus goes through, it also lets one into the mysterious world of what it's like to actually be in there, and to be on the same amazing journey with one, two, or even three other companions.

One can't help but wonder how much these newborn multiples remember of their time in the womb, when they formed a bond like no other...

Apr 30, 2019

Richard Feynman: The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1981)


Richard Feynman was a scientific genius with - in his words - a "limited intelligence". This dichotomy is just one of the characteristics that made him a fascinating subject. The Pleasure of Finding Things Out exposes us to many more of these intriguing attributes by featuring an extensive conversation with the acclaimed Nobel Prize winner.

During the course of the interview, which was conducted in 1981, Feynman uses the undeniable power of the personal to convey otherwise challenging scientific theories. His colorful and lucid stories make abstract concepts tangible, and his warm presence is sure to inspire interest and awe from even the most reluctant student of science. His insights are profound, but his delivery is anything but dry and ostentatious.

Heralded as one of the greatest physicists of all time, his curiosity was nurtured by his military father, who encouraged him to explore and comprehend the world around him in a manner that transcended textbooks and grade school teachings. Armed with a restless thirst for knowledge, he felt constrained as a young boy by an educational system that favored memorization techniques over true learning. His observations of early boyhood experiences - when he questioned everything from the composition of a flower to the nature of inertia - clue us in on the birth and evolution of a great mind.

The film isn't all about childhood wonder and the innocence of discovery, however. After having established himself as an undeniable talent in the world of physics, his expertise was called upon to assist in the development of the atom bomb during World War II. His essential involvement in the Manhattan Project, and the catastrophic loss of life it eventually wrought, left him severely tormented. His self-doubt soon rectified itself in the form of historic research and theory development, influential teaching assignments, and from achieving the top prize in his field - the Nobel Prize in physics.

Filmed just seven short years prior to his untimely death, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out is a highly engrossing tribute to a towering intellect, and a valuable reminder of how the complex beauty and potential consequences of science impact us all.

Apr 20, 2019

In the Womb (2005)


From the moment of conception, every human embryo embarks on an incredible nine month journey of development. Now, cutting-edge technology makes it possible for National Geographic's In the Womb to open a window into the hidden world of the fetus and explore each trimester in amazing new detail. Revolutionary imagery sheds light on the delicate, dark world of a fetus as never before.

This movie is actually a combination of 4-dimensional real-time sonograms and re-created "animation" of a fetus developing. I don't mean cartoon animation, but just a re-creation of a baby in an actual womb. With both, the fetus is actually moving around and shown exactly as it develops, moves, etc. I would say there is about 5 whole minutes of 4D sonogram footage and the rest is re-creation footage (which is very detailed and much more appealing to watch).

We are currently studying biology and life science so this movie was very appropriate and fit in well with our biology books and materials. A new tidbit that I had yet to read or hear was that sperm could smell the egg, which helps them to find it. We giggled over that part, which was entirely new to us. There is only about 5 minutes devoted to actual childbirth and only one quick view of the baby's head and shoulders being born.

Apr 15, 2019

Nova: Origins: How Life Began (2004)


Has the universe always existed? How did it become a place that could harbor life? NOVA presents some startling new answers in Origins, a new 4-part series. New clues from the frontiers of science are presented by astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. As the host of Origins, Tyson leads viewers on a journey to the beginning of time and to the depths of space, in search of the first stirrings of life and its traces on other worlds.

The documentary is very scientific considering as many options/possibilities as possible. Everything is well done. Just when you think they will skip an idea or just touch one it, they do a good job elaborating on it. The topics covered include: How the Earth formed?, How common is an earth-like planet?, search for extra-solar planets, the chemistry of life, formation of life molecules, big bang theory, cosmic microwave background and much more. If you like documentaries about origins of life and space, then this is likely one that you will enjoy.

I would strongly urge all members of Planet Earth to take a few entertaining and informative hours to understand what we know today about the origin of the Earth. Even if you are not in agreement, it gives you an idea on what popular consensus in the scientific community today.

The Elegant Universe (2003)


Adapted from a provocative book by Brian Greene, this deeply engrossing documentary -- which originally aired on PBS's NOVA in three parts -- attempts to explain the controversial string theory, a complicated scientific proposal that, in short, posits a single explanation for many of the universe's mysteries. As affable an egghead as you're likely to find, Greene engages an array of physicists in his examination of string theory, which in part blends Einstein's theory of relativity with the complex laws governing quantum mechanics. Although mind-numbing technical terms are kept to a minimum, those of us not conversant with advanced physics might feel a bit lost at times.

Still, the subject is undeniably fascinating, and some of the conclusions are nothing short of mind-blowing: a reasoned, professional discussion of a universe encompassing 11 separate dimensions certainly calls Johnny Carson's "I did not know that" to mind.

In some ways reminiscent of Carl Sagan's Cosmos series, The Elegant Universe is even tougher to get a handle on. But the effort will prove rewarding, especially when you're looking for a way to melt the ice at cocktail parties.

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980)


With Cosmos, Carl Sagan and his wife and co-writer, Ann Druyan, brilliantly illustrated the underlying science of his same-titled book, placing the human species within a space-and-time context that brought the infinite into stunningly clear view. The series, which originally aired in 1980 on PBS, has been seen by more than 700 million people worldwide and remains a high-water mark in miniseries history.

Sagan lucidly explains such topics as Einstein's theory of relativity, Darwin's theory of evolution, and the greenhouse effect, bringing the mysteries of the universe down to a layman’s level of understanding. The footage in these remastered, seven-DVD or seven-VHS sets is as fresh and riveting as it was two decades ago and is certain to fire the imaginations of a whole new generation of viewers. This is THE GREATEST television series ever.

This documentary inspired me to a love of science, learning, and freedom of inquiry that have shaped both my interests and intellectual curiosity. Of the hundreds of high-quality science doc series released in the interim, none approach the majesty and depth of this one. An elegant and artistic enterprise for a well-organized, self-correcting way of reasoning and thinking about the universe/time we occupy. After a quarter of a century, this series is as captivating as it is an education.

Apr 14, 2019

Cosmic Voyage (1996)


Nominated for an Academy Award, this 36-minute IMAX production offers a state of the art, computer generated journey through the universe, and tries to pinpoint the role of human beings cohabitating within its vastness.

Among the topics included are a variety of the greatest scientific theories known to exist - some of which had never before been visualized on film - as well as a guided tour through the cosmos and solar system, and a look at the nature of black holes and exploding supernovas.

This IMAX offering presents us with not only one but two journeys - one in space (going from the entire universe to quarks) and one in time (going from the first cells to human beings).

These are both monumental enterprises, but unfortunately this half-hour movie can only offer us an inkling of either. It presents some beautiful images, although the journeys themselves lose much in the translation to the TV screen. Only recommended for those who want some relaxation.


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