Monday, January 18, 2010

The BBC, as I've said previously, has good science coverage.

One programme, recently broadcast on BBC Four, was called The Secret Life of Chaos. It was presented by Professor Jim Al-Khalili, who suggests a way that intelligent life could arise out of chaos.

Excerpt of programme description from BBC iPlayer: "Professor Al-Khalili reveals the science behind much of beauty and structure in the natural world and discovers that far from it being magic or an act of God, it is in fact an intrinsic part of the laws of physics."

Radio Times reviewer, Geoff Ellis: Jim Al-Khalili delivers a mind-blowing examination of the weird relationship between order and chaos in the natural world. It's a terrific mix of vivid storytelling, big ideas and stunning visuals. For it seems that even simple rules can create very complex and unpredictable systems, like the weather. Al-Khalili presents a gripping narrative starting with code-breaker Alan Turing, moving on through the butterfly effect to evolution and fractal geometry - which creates some extraordinarily beautiful images here. It's a compelling and brilliantly clear explanation of how chaos and the spontaneous formation of patterns are built into nature. And even if this comes from cutting edge maths, there's hardly an equation to be seen. It's only the second week of January and already here's a candidate for science documentary of the year.

The Representation of Chaos (Haydn's Creation)

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