Television Universe by Brian Cox

Buster15

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This is a new 5 part series on BBC specifically about our Universe. From its creation, if that is the right word through to the stars and everything else contained within it.
Exploring things like Dark Matter, Dark Energy and the 4 fundamental forces of nature; at least the 4 that we know about.

Typically interesting and highly thought provoking.
At this point, the first 3 episodes have been shown.

For anyone like me who is fascinated by this subject, essential viewing.
 

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Sounds great in theory and I hope you enjoy it but I tend to struggle massively with shows involving Brian Cox.

It's not his presence as much as the format that his shows tend to follow. They like to open with him giving some sweeping monologue at the beginning about the epic journey that we're all about to go on, and then end up sort of like quasi-travel documentary. Unfortunately it means the show can focus less on the actual science part than I might have hoped.

BBC has put out lots of good shows about physics, history, etc but in recent years they've often stuck to this format and i guess it kinda bothers me. I like the hard facts, damnit!

Some of the early Jim Al-khalili documentaries on BBC 4 are fantastic, for example.

Edit - I didn't need to make this post really but let's leave it up for posterity.
 
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Buster15

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Sounds great in theory and I hope you enjoy it but I tend to struggle massively with shows involving Brian Cox.

It's not his presence as the format that all his shows seem to follow. They tend to involve him giving some kind of sweeping monologue at the beginning about the epic journey we're all about to go on, then involve him travelling around the world to discuss different things with lots of different people, ending up sort of like quasi-travel documentaries, which then unfortunately means the show tends to be less about the science parts than I hoped.

BBC has put out lots of good shows about physics, history, etc but in recent years they've often stuck to this format and it bothers me. I just want hard facts, damnit!

The early Jim Al-khalili documentaries on BBC 4 were fantastic, for example.

Edit - I didn't need to make this post really but let's leave it up for posterity.
Yes. I know exactly what you mean.
Far too much sweeping scenery and far too little on real scientific facts.
But I have to accept that they are trying to appeal to a much wider audience than what they see as science geeks.

And I am pleased that you did decide to post.
 

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Just finished it and although I usually wretch at the sound of the ever so slightly condescending voice and the ever present mildly smug smirk on his face, I found this series to be very good. Deep enough to be interesting but not coma inducingly so. Very enjoyable.
 

e.cantona

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Just finished it and although I usually wretch at the sound of the ever so slightly condescending voice and the ever present mildly smug smirk on his face, I found this series to be very good. Deep enough to be interesting but not coma inducingly so. Very enjoyable.
I love his slightly condescending voice and smirk. Cox is great:D
 

Buster15

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Episode about the Milky Way on now, possibly a late night repeat. Amazing how much we know and how much extra we’ve learned in less than a century
What I still find difficult to comprehend is the magnitude of our galaxy. And that it is just one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in the known Universe.

And I keep coming back to the question - does all of this have a purpose. Or is it just there.
I do understand that for it to have a purpose, it could need to have a creator. But I do not believe in God or the creation theory.
So that leaves me with the probability that it just happens to exist, with hundreds of billions of galaxies each with hundreds of billions of stars, many with planetary systems. And on and on.
Absolutely mind blowing.
 
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What I still find difficult to comprehend is the magnitude of our galaxy. And that it is just one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in the known Universe.

And I keep coming back to the question - does all of this have a purpose. Or is it just there.
I do understand that for it to have a purpose, it could need to have a creator. But I do not believe in God or the creation theory.
So that leaves me with the probability that it just happens to exist, with hundreds of billions of galaxies each with hundreds of billions of stars, many with planetary systems. And on and on.
Absolutely mind blowing.
I read this on internet (so basically fact?) ...

The Milky Way galaxy is around 125,000ly across. If it was to be shrunken down to a grain of sand, the observable universe would be roughly 1220 feet wide.

We are a speck of dust in a speck of dust of the total universe.

Does make you query if Earth can be the only one of its type? As a maths and stats guy (in college), my head says the probability is low. They could be watching us now!:eek:
 

Buster15

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I read this on internet (so basically fact?) ...

The Milky Way galaxy is around 125,000ly across. If it was to be shrunken down to a grain of sand, the observable universe would be roughly 1220 feet wide.

We are a speck of dust in a speck of dust of the total universe.

Does make you query if Earth can be the only one of its type? As a maths and stats guy (in college), my head says the probability is low. They could be watching us now!:eek:
Pretty much everyone has that same impression, that in our galaxy, we could be alone as a so called intelligent life from (although too stupid not to trash our wonderful planet).
I have read in one of Brian Cox books how many 'bottle necks' there are for single cell bacteria to transition into multicellular life forms and eventually into humanity. Particularly the first step. A single cell life form has to become able to merge with another single cell and then to change the form and function of that additional single cell into something else, such that it can take on a different function.

But in terms of life, as far as we know, water is the absolute prerequisite for life. At least carbon based life.
So at least we have a reasonable idea where to look. As of course would others.
It is such a fascinating subject isn't it.
 
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Pretty much everyone has that same impression, that in our galaxy, we could be alone as a so called intelligent life from (although too stupid not to trash our wonderful planet).
I have read in one of Brian Cox books how many 'bottle necks' there are for single cell bacteria to transition into multicellular life forms and eventually into humanity. Particularly the first step. A single cell life form has to become able to merge with another single cell and then to change the form and function of that additional single cell into something else, such that it can take on a different function.

But in terms of life, as far as we know, water is the absolute prerequisite for life. At least carbon based life.
So at least we have a reasonable idea where to look. As of course would others.
It is such a fascinating subject isn't it.
Not sure I was clear but I meant that given the number of galaxies, planets, stars... it seems unlikely (from basic probability) that we're the only ones.

Even if the bottlenecks Coxy mentions mean our evolution was say.. one in a hundred billion (i.e. very small chance), I've seen estimates that there are 10²² stars in the universe and that's a shit load of zeroes?

Also an atheist so no almighty purpose for me, just think good chance that somewhere there's something similar to Earth, though that could mean another Caf and based on the mains forum recently, that's depressing.
 

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Not sure I was clear but I meant that given the number of galaxies, planets, stars... it seems unlikely (from basic probability) that we're the only ones.

Even if the bottlenecks Coxy mentions mean our evolution was say.. one in a hundred billion (i.e. very small chance), I've seen estimates that there are 10²² stars in the universe and that's a shit load of zeroes?

Also an atheist so no almighty purpose for me, just think good chance that somewhere there's something similar to Earth, though that could mean another Caf and based on the mains forum recently, that's depressing.
Another mind-bending thing to consider, is it's not just about the size of the universe nor amounts of planets in relation to other lifeforms and the chance they could/would visit us, it's also the fact that it has to coincide across billions of years too. People often forget the factor of time greatly complicates the chances we will ever know.
 

The Corinthian

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This is a new 5 part series on BBC specifically about our Universe. From its creation, if that is the right word through to the stars and everything else contained within it.
Exploring things like Dark Matter, Dark Energy and the 4 fundamental forces of nature; at least the 4 that we know about.

Typically interesting and highly thought provoking.
At this point, the first 3 episodes have been shown.

For anyone like me who is fascinated by this subject, essential viewing.
I just watched the first episode.

Some gorgeous imagery and cinematography but Cox makes it over dramatic and doesn’t go into enough detail science wise. Also he said ‘you and me’ too many times in the first episode.

Great episode overall though, thanks for the recommendation.
 

Buster15

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Not sure I was clear but I meant that given the number of galaxies, planets, stars... it seems unlikely (from basic probability) that we're the only ones.

Even if the bottlenecks Coxy mentions mean our evolution was say.. one in a hundred billion (i.e. very small chance), I've seen estimates that there are 10²² stars in the universe and that's a shit load of zeroes?

Also an atheist so no almighty purpose for me, just think good chance that somewhere there's something similar to Earth, though that could mean another Caf and based on the mains forum recently, that's depressing.
No. You were clear and I probably digressed slightly.
I was thinking primarily about life within our galaxy where even here it is estimated that there could be trillions of planets. Plenty you might feel for some to have the so called right conditions for life to develop.
The question is whether they would align with our humanity and be at a similar level of technology to be able to communicate.
 

Buster15

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I just watched the first episode.

Some gorgeous imagery and cinematography but Cox makes it over dramatic and doesn’t go into enough detail science wise. Also he said ‘you and me’ too many times in the first episode.

Great episode overall though, thanks for the recommendation.
Fully agree about the scientific details.
For those, I tend to rely on books and articles.
 
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No. You were clear and I probably digressed slightly.
I was thinking primarily about life within our galaxy where even here it is estimated that there could be trillions of planets. Plenty you might feel for some to have the so called right conditions for life to develop.
The question is whether they would align with our humanity and be at a similar level of technology to be able to communicate.
Wonder where Caf posters fit in here...

 
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Another mind-bending thing to consider, is it's not just about the size of the universe nor amounts of planets in relation to other lifeforms and the chance they could/would visit us, it's also the fact that it has to coincide across billions of years too. People often forget the factor of time greatly complicates the chances we will ever know.
And that even if there were other planets where life had developed like on Earth... odds are could be so far away, we/they would never know?
 

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Another mind-bending thing to consider, is it's not just about the size of the universe nor amounts of planets in relation to other lifeforms and the chance they could/would visit us, it's also the fact that it has to coincide across billions of years too. People often forget the factor of time greatly complicates the chances we will ever know.
It's the whole thing about how if the history of the earth was condensed into a year, humans wouldn't show up until a minute to midnight (or something like that).

So as you said, they could have visited, but it was back when dinosaurs were roaming and staring nervously upwards.
 

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It's the whole thing about how if the history of the earth was condensed into a year, humans wouldn't show up until a minute to midnight (or something like that).

So as you said, they could have visited, but it was back when dinosaurs were roaming and staring nervously upwards.
Dinosaurs can't look up
 

swooshboy

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No. You were clear and I probably digressed slightly.
I was thinking primarily about life within our galaxy where even here it is estimated that there could be trillions of planets. Plenty you might feel for some to have the so called right conditions for life to develop.
The question is whether they would align with our humanity and be at a similar level of technology to be able to communicate.
I think about this sometimes. It's so easy to see what we know of life and our human experience as the pinnacle – as in its the 'goal' of creation or life of any sort. If you looked at the history of the Earth, it might be that trees actually represent the ultimate in life when you consider longevity, resistance etc.

The other thing is we have no idea just how 'perfect' conditions had to be to enable life to begin on Earth. We know that planets closer to the sun are too hot, and those further away are too cold to support life (or at least what we consider to be life). But maybe if we were 1km closer to the sun, then that may have tipped the balance too much and life would not have started. Or if any of the many huge asteroid collisions over the history of our planet had been violent and impactful enough to destroy all life on the planet. So we have also been tremendously lucky as a planet to have come through these events as unscathed as we are.

I do find it fascinating and so difficult to get your head around!
 

Buster15

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I think about this sometimes. It's so easy to see what we know of life and our human experience as the pinnacle – as in its the 'goal' of creation or life of any sort. If you looked at the history of the Earth, it might be that trees actually represent the ultimate in life when you consider longevity, resistance etc.

The other thing is we have no idea just how 'perfect' conditions had to be to enable life to begin on Earth. We know that planets closer to the sun are too hot, and those further away are too cold to support life (or at least what we consider to be life). But maybe if we were 1km closer to the sun, then that may have tipped the balance too much and life would not have started. Or if any of the many huge asteroid collisions over the history of our planet had been violent and impactful enough to destroy all life on the planet. So we have also been tremendously lucky as a planet to have come through these events as unscathed as we are.

I do find it fascinating and so difficult to get your head around!
And we know that the Earth has not always been in the same orbit around the Sun. It orbit has varied, as have all the other planets. But it has been in its current position for quite some time, which is the important thing.
 

Revan

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Not sure I was clear but I meant that given the number of galaxies, planets, stars... it seems unlikely (from basic probability) that we're the only ones.

Even if the bottlenecks Coxy mentions mean our evolution was say.. one in a hundred billion (i.e. very small chance), I've seen estimates that there are 10²² stars in the universe and that's a shit load of zeroes?

Also an atheist so no almighty purpose for me, just think good chance that somewhere there's something similar to Earth, though that could mean another Caf and based on the mains forum recently, that's depressing.
Only in the observable universe. The real universe seems to be at least 1000 times larger, and possibly inifinite.

This does not necessarily count the number of universes. For example, string theory would estimate at least 10^500 of them, neither the many-world interpretation of quantum mechanics which would estimate many more, possibly infinite.
 

Buster15

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Only in the observable universe. The real universe seems to be at least 1000 times larger, and possibly inifinite.

This does not necessarily count the number of universes. For example, string theory would estimate at least 10^500 of them, neither the many-world interpretation of quantum mechanics which would estimate many more, possibly infinite.
I am not doubting what you are saying.
My question is, how could we say that the real Universe seems to be so much bigger than the observable or known Universe when we don't know what is beyond what we can see.

And if our Universe actually is infinite, how can there then be an infinite number of Universes.
My apology if I am asking stupid questions. But I am just trying to improve my understanding of this subject.
 

Revan

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I am not doubting what you are saying.
My question is, how could we say that the real Universe seems to be so much bigger than the observable or known Universe when we don't know what is beyond what we can see.

And if our Universe actually is infinite, how can there then be an infinite number of Universes.
My apology if I am asking stupid questions. But I am just trying to improve my understanding of this subject.
Essentially, the observable universe is flat. Which means that the universe is far far larger, otherwise we would have seen some angle. Same as how you look, the Earth looks flat, but is is so larger than what you can see that eventually bends and you get a sphere. So the universe might be something like that too, though in that case it needs to be far larger than what we see.

with regards to the multiverse, there are several universal constants (such as the speed of light). Some of them are incredibly fine tuned, with one of them (the cosmological constant) being ridiculously fine tuned to support the creation of atoms, stars, galaxies and eventually life. Essentially leaving either a creator, or a large number of universes each with its own set of constants, and us being in one of the lucky ones which support life. The number of them is estimated to be above 10^500 based on the number of Calabi Yau spaces (string theory). Of course, just hypothetical at this stage.

There could be a number of infinite infinities. For example there is an infinite number of real numbers between 0 and 1. Same between 1 and 2. If you take each of these sets from 0 to infinity, you get an infinite of these sets, each having an infinite amount of numbers. That doesn’t count the negative numbers so there is another superset there. Complex numbers for another one. So there could be something like that in the universe too.
 

Buster15

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Essentially, the observable universe is flat. Which means that the universe is far far larger, otherwise we would have seen some angle. Same as how you look, the Earth looks flat, but is is so larger than what you can see that eventually bends and you get a sphere. So the universe might be something like that too, though in that case it needs to be far larger than what we see.

with regards to the multiverse, there are several universal constants (such as the speed of light). Some of them are incredibly fine tuned, with one of them (the cosmological constant) being ridiculously fine tuned to support the creation of atoms, stars, galaxies and eventually life. Essentially leaving either a creator, or a large number of universes each with its own set of constants, and us being in one of the lucky ones which support life. The number of them is estimated to be above 10^500 based on the number of Calabi Yau spaces (string theory). Of course, just hypothetical at this stage.

There could be a number of infinite infinities. For example there is an infinite number of real numbers between 0 and 1. Same between 1 and 2. If you take each of these sets from 0 to infinity, you get an infinite of these sets, each having an infinite amount of numbers. That doesn’t count the negative numbers so there is another superset there. Complex numbers for another one. So there could be something like that in the universe too.
Can I just say that I really do appreciate your very interesting response, some of which I can understand.
I certainly agree about the incredibly fine tuning of some of the factors that have shaped our Universe, especially in those minute fractions of a second.
Thanks for this.
 

Revan

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Can I just say that I really do appreciate your very interesting response, some of which I can understand.
I certainly agree about the incredibly fine tuning of some of the factors that have shaped our Universe, especially in those minute fractions of a second.
Thanks for this.
Thanks mate, glad that my explanation was useful.