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Physics of Recycling [electronic resource]

Our consumer lifestyles produce a growing mountain of waste, but finding cost effective ways to recycle it all is a challenge. This video clip investigates new technology being used to salvage treasure from trash.

Beauty and Truth in Physics [electronic resource]

In addition to being a Nobel laureate, Murray Gell-Mann is an accomplished physicist who's earned numerous awards, medals, and honorary degrees for his work with subatomic particles, including the groundbreaking theory that the nucleus of an atom comprises 100 or so fundamental building blocks called quarks. Dubbed "the man with five brains," he now heads the evolution of human languages program at the Santa Fe Institute, which he cofounded in 1984. In this TEDTalk, he is armed with a sense of humor and laypeople's terms and he addresses whether or not elegant equations are more likely to right than inelegant ones. "The names alone that Gell-Mann applies to his new theories and formulations reflect his sense of humor, immensely broad range of interests, and deep understanding. The th [...]

Making Sound

Dr. Helen Czerski investigates the extraordinary science behind sounds we're familiar with and sounds we normally can't hear. At the Palace of Westminster,she teams up with scientists from the University of Leicester to carry out state-of-the-art measurements to reveal how Big Ben vibrates to create pressure waves in the air at particular frequencies. With soprano singer Lesley Garrett, Helen explores the science of the singing voice. At the summit of Stromboli, Helen and volcanologist Dr. Jeffrey Johnson use a special microphone to record the extraordinary deep tone produced by the volcano as it explodes—a frequency far too low for the human ear to detect. Finally, at the University of Cambridge's Institute of Astronomy, Helen meets a scientist who has discovered evidence of sound w [...]

Life, the Universe and Everything

Philosophers have always sought grand theories to explain the world's mystery. And Stephen Hawking once predicted that science would have its own Theory of Everything by 2000. Yet we are no closer to an answer. Are we necessarily limited and reality beyond reach or is a solution just round the corner? The Panel Quantum physicist Sandu Popescu, philosopher Rufus Duits and independent filmmaker David Malone envisage an ultimate theory of everything. Gabrielle Walker hosts.
2017; 2015


Renowned oceanographer and geophysicist Walter Munk observes that spreading decreases the energy of sound as it travels. Energy loss due to spreading is proportional to the square of the distance from the source.
2015; 2011


Renowned oceanographer and geophysicist Walter Munk talks about sonar, which stands for sound navigation and ranging, the process by which objects (like submarines, for example) are discovered when sound waves are reflected off of them and then detected.
2015; 2011

Science Under Siege

From many-worlds to the multiverse, does physics still need experiments? The Speaker George Ellis examines the fantasies of contemporary cosmology.
2017; 2015

MegaWorld: Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has a long history of innovative engineering. See how they are meeting the challenges of building Europe's longest automobile tunnel right underneath the historic city of Prague. Go behind the scenes for exclusive access to the world's largest castle in downtown Prague. Watch European Truck Racing champion David Vr'ecký attempt to break the 300 km/h barrier and set a new world speed record. Other stories include a Czech company that makes the best plastic explosives, the largest earth-moving excavator in Europe, and the biggest beer spa in the world.
2017; 2011

The Physics of Fire

On average, about 8 million acres of land burns each year from wildfires. Big fires can reduce forests and grasslands to ash and can destroy homes and lives. Sadly, up to 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans’ carelessness, like unattended campfires, burning trash or waste, tossed-out cigarettes, and arson. The remaining 10 percent are usually started by lightning. Controlling and fighting fires isn’t easy. But knowing the science behind a burning blaze helps firefighters tackle the heat and flames to help save property, land and lives. Did you know wildfires often want to move uphill? It’s all part of the physics of how fires start and spread.

Will There Ever Be an Apocalypse?

An interview with Matt Stanley, a professor of history and philosophy of science at NYU on his recent talk titled From Physics to Prophecy: Learning to Predict the Scientific Apocalypse.
2018; 2017

The Amazing World of Gravity: Part 2

The second episode will show how gravity varies across the Earth’s surface. A travelling Gravity Roadshow of scientists and volunteers will cross the UK, measuring gravity using highly accurate scales as they go, to see how the force of gravity varies across the UK. This will allow us to reveal in the show the place in Britain where, according to the laws of physics, you weigh the least.
2017; 2016

NOVA: Why Ships Sink

Picking up from the Costa Concordia disaster and looking both back to the Titanic disaster a century ago, and into the future of sea travel, NOVA looks at questions about cruise ship safety and the science of the ships' buoyancy.
2018; 2012

Using Sound

Dr. Helen Czerski examines the extraordinary messages sound waves carry and how they help us understand the world around us. Visiting a hidden location buried beneath the hills of Scotland, Helen experiences some of the most extreme acoustics in the world. She discovers how sound has driven the evolution of biological systems and complex relationships between creatures that exploit sound. Through the story of a cochlea implant patient, Helen explores the complicated way our ears can translate sound waves. On the North Sea, she investigates how marine archaeologists use sound waves to uncover human stories buried beneath the sea.

Shedding Light on Motion: Episode 6—Newton's First Law

In episode six of the Shedding Light on Motion series, presenter Spiro Liacos is “thrown forward” in a head-on collision, “thrown backwards” when his tram takes off, and “thrown to the side” when his car suddenly turns a corner. But in fact none of these things actually happen! Using brilliant visuals, this episode looks at the fact that an object will remain stationary or move with a constant velocity unless a force acts on it. It also describes a number of different forces that affect our lives daily.

Seth Macfarlane

Host Neil deGrasse Tyson features his interview with Seth MacFarlane, creator of the popular animated series Family Guy. Comedian co-host Chuck Nice and astrophysicist Charles Liu join Tyson in the Hall of the Universe to discuss the science of Family Guy, social issues in cartoons, and the science fiction parodies abound in the series.
2017; 2015

Energy on the Edge

Everything that we do to move, live, work, play, create, and survive, is sustained by spinning a wheel. Whether engines in our cars, or whirling turbines generators in a power plant, spinning the wheels of civilization requires fuel. We've long relied on fossil fuels, but the supply is finite and the environmental costs of burning them are growing. Enter a new generation of inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs who are looking to the edge of discovery for new ways to keep these wheels in motion. There is enough energy trapped inside a single glass of water to power a major metropolitan city for a day, and experimental physicists believe they're close to unlocking it. In the sun drenched deserts of Nevada, clean energy pioneers are building a billion-dollar experimental plant that [...]
2017; 2015

Weird Science—Magnetic Flip? The Science Squad

Have you ever felt like your world has been turned upside down? You could be more correct than you know…
2017; 2015

Heard Island Test and Climate Change, the

Renowned oceanographer and geophysicist Walter Munk talks about efforts to measure ocean warming through sound in a test done near Heard Island, an area considered unique because sound emanating from that point can theoretically reach every ocean basin on Earth.
2015; 2011

Using Sound to Measure Ocean Warming

Renowned oceanographer and geophysicist Walter Munk talks about efforts to measure ocean warming through the use of sound--a process known as dark acoustic thermometry. Professor Munk notes that since the speed of sound increases in the ocean with temperature, the time it takes for a pulse to cross a body of water should diminish as the water gets warmer.
2015; 2011

Rocket Scientist Franklin Chang-Diaz

This episode of NOVA scienceNOW introduces renowned paleontologist George Poinar, whose study of extinct creatures preserved in amber partly inspired Jurassic Park; examines the northern lights and “space weather;” studies mice that Ron Evans and his team genetically altered for heightened endurance; and profiles Franklin Chang-Diaz, designer of a revolutionary new rocket that could power a new generation of space explorers.
2017; 2009