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NOVA - The Elegant Universe (2003)

Michael Duff , Michael B. Green , Joseph McMaster , Julia Cort  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)

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NOVA - The Elegant Universe + Nova: Fabric of the Cosmos + How the Universe Works
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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Duff, Michael B. Green, Brian Greene, Walter Lewin, Joseph Lykken
  • Directors: Joseph McMaster, Julia Cort
  • Writers: Brian Greene, Joseph McMaster, Julia Cort
  • Producers: Joseph McMaster, Andrea Cross, David Hickman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: January 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000ZG0TA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,630 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "NOVA - The Elegant Universe" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Contains all three episodes on two discs
  • Bonus video: how the animation was created
  • The Making of The Elegant Universe
  • "Multidimensional Math" activity
  • Printable materials for educators
  • Excerpt from the book
  • Weblinks

Editorial Reviews

Based on Brian Greene's book, this three-part Nova program should do for physics what Cosmos did for astronomy. Greene hosts the program on the relative new concept of String Theory, a potential (and explosive) answer to the Holy Grail of science: a single, ultimate theory for everything. Part of Greene's (along with filmmakers Julia Cort and Joseph McMaster) genius is the ability to explain complex issues with ease thanks to a generous helping of graphics and humor. It starts with a perplexing anecdote: Einstein died trying to figure out if there could be an ultimate theory. His General Theory of Relativity brought order to the laws of large objects, but could not explain the chancier world of Quantum Mechanics (which deals with atomic particles). String Theory tries to marry the two. Greene and many colleagues give us a history of the quest and how String Theory was "discovered" in the 1980s. The formula has a lot of quirks, the most dazzling being the insistence there's 11 dimensions in the universe. Greene is not as natural as Cosmos creator/host Carl Sagan, but he is certainly friendly and encouraging (albeit it's quite odd for the host to be interviewed at various times in the program). Because it's a three-part show, there is some overlap at the start of hours 2 and 3. --Doug Thomas

Product Description

One of the most ambitious and exciting scientific theories ever posed—one that may be the long-sought "Theory of Everything"—gets a masterful and lavishly animated explanation that will excite scientists and non-scientists alike. Beginning with simple and clear explanations of major concepts of physics, including gravity, electromagnetism, and relativity, The Elegant Universe illuminates one of the most revolutionary theories in physics today.

Known as string theory or superstring theory, this startling idea proposes that the fundamental ingredients of nature are inconceivably tiny strands of energy, whose different modes of vibration underlie everything that happens in the universe. The theory attempts to unite the laws of the large—general relativity—and the laws of the small—quantum mechanics—breaking a conceptual logjam that has frustrated scientists for nearly a century.

If string theory proves correct, the universe we see obscures a reality that is far richer and more complex than anyone ever imagined—a universe with numerous hidden dimensions, a universe in which the fabric of space can rip and tear, a universe that may be but one of many parallel universes.

Join host Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University and the best-selling author of The Elegant Universe, for this exciting and in-depth exploration of this groundbreaking new theory.

Special DVD features include: bonus video—how the animation was created; Multidimensional Math activity; The Making of The Elegant Universe activity; printable materials and activities for educators; link to The Elegant Universe Web site; excerpt from the best-selling book The Elegant Universe; scene selections; closed captions; and described video for the visually impaired.

On two DVD9 discs. Region coding: All regions. Audio: Dolby stereo. Screen format: Letterboxed.

On two DVD9 discs. Region coding: All regions. Audio: Dolby stereo. Screen format: Letterboxed.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
384 of 391 people found the following review helpful
By Cyborgx
As a warning to other potential purchasers, please note that this is not a new program "Beyond" the original "The Elegant Universe" but just a repackaging with 2 other programs.

I thought the first DVD was great, and was just about to purchase this one because it sounded like a new program continuing where the first left off, but in fact it is EXACTLY the same program! I got the details from and here they are :-

THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE AND BEYOND is a compliation of three different NOVA programs that have already aired. They are listed below with synopses on each one:

1) The Elegant Universe (WG36779)

Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory Join host Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University and the best-selling author of The Elegant Universe, for an in-depth exploration of the groundbreaking new string theory that will excite scientists and non-scientists alike. If string theory proves correct, the universe we see obscures a reality that is far richer and more complex than anyone ever imagined--a universe with numerous hidden dimensions, a universe in which the fabric of space can rip and tear, a universe that may be but one of many parallel universes

2) Einstein's Big Idea (WG38889)

Everyone's heard of it, but what does E=mc2 really mean? With brilliant period recreations, discover how an obscure patent clerk, Albert Einstein, came up with his shattering 1905 discovery that the realms of matter and energy are inescapably linked. Starring Aidan McArdle (Ella

Enchanted) as Einstein, and Shirley Henderson (Bridget Jones's Diary) as Einstein's first wife, Mileva Maric.
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253 of 266 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Viewed from the right perspective, it's very good March 5, 2004
Anyone accustomed to the sober atmosphere of science writing will be rather shocked by Nova's treatment of "The Elegant Universe". Zany examples, intentional facetiousness and dazzling imagery a serious science discussion does not make. However if you're familiar with Brian Greene's writing style you'll immediately recognize that tounge-in-cheek is par for the course.
Greene's book is at once an intellectual excercise and a lightweight science review, and for that we are all grateful: much of the 19th & 20th century science leading up to the 'discovery' of the String Theories is poorly understood by educated Americans (most definitely including me), and the brushing-up is well deserved. And while some equations are included and some (light) mathematical work required, for the most part Greene realizes that most people will require some help visualizing those things which can never be visualized; quantum mechanics, strings, 11 dimensions.
Which is why it should not come as a suprise to many familiar with his books that the Nova treatment is so lighthearted, or contains so many simplistic visual examples again and again. This new math is inaccesible to most and challenging to the rest, so the eye candy is warranted.
And what eye candy! The visual elements, while at times capricious and overwhelming, are expertly done and do serve to provide further understanding of the subject. The visual effects team at Edgeworx has provided entertaining, educational visual material that should hold up to scrutiny over time.
Greene himself is generally an engaging host. While he has but one on-camera trick (pause, put hands together, glance at floor, then BANG back at the camera), he works it, all the while clearly explaining the subject.
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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
I was struggling whether I should spend $35Cdn (I bought this from on this 'String Theory' that I have no clue of what it is but only aware of the interesting sound of 'Theory of Everything'. I was also worrying my limited education background and brain capacity for such complex concept. I took the risk and completed my order. Two days later, I got my dvd delivered to my door, couldn't stand finishing my dinner, I opened it and watched it right away.
The first 3 minutes was the trailer/intro of this 3 hours DVD. It really drew my attention with interesting topics and high quality special effects & CG animation. I knew my $35Cdn was very well spent. The first hour talked about the ground concepts of basic forces: Gravity & Quantum Mechanics. Don't worry, you don't need a science or physic degree to understand these concepts. The beauty of this DVD is that it uses various scenarios, via pictures, animiation, & special effects to depict the complex concepts to you in a very simple & understandable way. Trust me, even your grade 6 children are able to comprehend the elegant universe theory from this DVD. The first hour was focusing on these basic forces, what Albert Einstein wanted to do with unification, and what the problems were. The second hour talked about how the String theory evolve and help to solve the puzzle of Einstein's unification problem. And the last hour will take the String theory to realize the possiblilities of 11th dimensions, the impacts to our world, and the future of this 'Theory of everything'. If you still find difficulties to understand those concepts, don't worry, you will find lots of interactive education materials from the second DVD. There's an initeresting demo let you to build from 1 dimensional line to a 4-dimensional hypercube visually.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great information.
Published 21 days ago by Maru Bartlett
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegantly Entertaining & Enriching = but also Accessible and as Simple...
Brian Greene's incredibly engaging documentary (based on his earlier book): "The Elegant Universe" is an amazingly accessible work - making the modern scientific concepts of... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Book & Music thief, from HI
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Recommended for those who are interested in the Universe. DVDs arrived in excellent condition.
Published 1 month ago by Charles L. Nahlen
5.0 out of 5 stars The Theory of Everything
In this Nova - The Elegant Universe DVD, Brian Green explains in layman's terms the String Theory, which might be a step towards "The Theory of Everything" if it proves to be... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Big Al
5.0 out of 5 stars Very elegant way to explain the theory of everything
A very complex theory nicely explained. A complement to the book of the same author. Interesting what will happen to the theory in the years to come
Published 3 months ago by Rodrigo Gonzalez Foretic
5.0 out of 5 stars We continue to enjoy this
Received on time for Christmas even in mail crunch this year. Nova always gives an interesting presentation of new and interesting concepts and this is one of the better ones. Read more
Published 8 months ago by elaine angerhofer
5.0 out of 5 stars Astronomically Delightful
Clear and interesting explanation of "String Theory". My kids and I watch this a lot. There is always something new to learn no matter how many times it is viewed. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Galactic Bling
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool stuff! Evocative for the curious mind and the deep thinker.
Great video. For those intrigued by science, this is a must-see as it requires the viewer to think beyond the every day, and imagine about the invisible things that make up our... Read more
Published 8 months ago by E. B. Allred
5.0 out of 5 stars fall in love with the universe
Amazing science presented in a user-friendly format that still manages to leave you breathless and in total awe of the wonder that is our universe.
Published 12 months ago by Robin Bowman
5.0 out of 5 stars Teacher stuff
The review of gravity, and electromagnetism is done very attractively. The movie is a treat for the senses. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Greg Trautman
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