A couple of days ago I wrote a review of an amazing documentary Wonders of the Solar System hosted by Brian Cox so to wrap things up let’s take a look at the Wonders of the Universe. The first thing that catches attention is the title, which sounds very promising, yet one might wonder how can such a vast subject be included in a mini-series. So let’s see how the BBC team and Brian Cox do their job in this one.
As you might guess from the title, Wonders of the Universe has a lot in common with the previously reviewed Wonders of the Solar System Series. Once again host Brian Cox travels around the world, visiting interesting and extreme locations trying to present and explain the wonders of the universe and the laws that formed them. The visuals are once again great and the beautiful filming locations only add to the charm. Brian Cox does a great job as a narrator and host. He tries to explain concepts of science to everyday viewers and, I think, he does a good job as always. The documentary knows its audience and tries to popularize physics instead of trying to explain complex science to everyday users, which I think is also an advantage.
As for disadvantages, the series seem to have chosen a subject which is too wide for only a few episodes. Also, sometimes I can’t help but feel that the whole aspect of travelling to beautiful and extreme locations in some episodes was portrayed as more important than science. So I think, The Wonders of the Solar system was better in many ways, nevertheless Wonders of the Universe is still a good documentary to watch.
Here’s a short guide of the episodes:
In the first episode, host Brian Cox considers the nature of time. He explores the cycles of time that define the lives of humans on the earth, and compares them to the cycles of time on a cosmic scale. This leads to a discussion of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and its relation to the nature of time.
In this episode, Cox discusses the elements of which all living things, including humans, are made. He explores the beginnings of the universe and the origins of humanity, going far back in time to look at the process of stellar evolution. He tries to explain how these basic elements formed more complex elements and how they are related to the life cycles of the stars and the recycling of matter in the Universe.
This episode documents how gravity has an effect across the Universe, and how the relatively weak force creates an orbit. We also see how a neutron star’s gravity works. Finally, there is a look back at how research on gravity has enabled us to better understand the cosmos. The US broadcast was originally aired on August 10, 2011 and was titled “The Known and the Unknown.”
The final episode shows how the unique properties of light provide an insight into the origins and development of mankind and the Universe. Cox demonstrates how the speed of light permits scientists to measure distance and time with a trip in a fighter jet that they use to break the sound barrier.
- Format: NTSC, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Region: All Regions
- Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Studio: BBC Worldwide
- Release Date: August 30, 2011
- Run Time: 240 minutes
- Average Amazon Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars (26 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B004XKVQVU
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,599 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
Category: Physics & Science Documentaries