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NOVA - Origins

4.3 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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(Dec 07, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Has the universe always existed? How did it become a place that could harbor life? Are we alone, or are there alien worlds waiting to be discovered? NOVA presents some startling new answers in Origins, a groundbreaking four-part NOVA miniseries. New clues from the frontiers of science are presented by dynamic astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. As the host of Origins, Tyson leads viewers on a cosmic journey to the beginning of time and to the depths of space, in search of the first stirrings of life and its traces on other worlds. The series' first hour, Origins: Earth is Born, gives viewers a spectacular glimpse of the tumultuous first billion years of Earth — a time of continuous catastrophe. Episode two, Origins: How Life Began, zeroes in on the mystery of exactly how it happened. Join the hunt for hardy microbes that flourish in the most unlikely places: inside rocks in a mine shaft two miles down, inside a cave dripping with acid as strong as a car battery's, and in noxious gas bubbles erupting from the Pacific Ocean’s floor. The survival of these tough microorganisms suggests they may be related to the planet's first primitive life forms. Hour three starts with a bang — the Big Bang in which everything began. Origins: Back to the Beginning explores how the colossal, mind-boggling forces of the early universe made it possible for habitable worlds to emerge. In episode four, Origins: Where are the Aliens?, Tyson explores such provocative questions as: Would "E.T.s" resemble "us" or the creatures of science fiction? And are there planets on which life can flourish rare or common in our universe? Special DVD features include: materials and activities for educators; a link to the NOVA Web site; scene selections; closed captions; and described video for the visually impaired. (Final features TBD) On two discs (disc size TBD). Region coding: All regions. Audio: Dolby stereo. Screen format: Letterboxed.

Amazon.com

Origins is a spectacular four-part miniseries, first presented on PBS's Nova, about the beginnings of the universe, our solar system, life on Earth, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life on other planets. It is not a stretch to say that Origins, among all television documentaries about the evolving cosmos, offers the most breathtaking dramatic visual representation of Earth's tumultuous history, and the clearest, step-by-step explanation of the formation of planets, the development of water and living organisms, and the forces that shape other parts of our galaxy and beyond.

Hosted by the engaging Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, Origins consists of four one-hour episodes. The first focuses on the initial billion years of Earth history, research into the emergence of water (which appeared surprisingly early, as it turns out, and could have been delivered by comets) and the birth of the moon. The second show concerns hardy, single-cell organisms on Earth developing, in some quite inhospitable places, into complex life forms, while the third covers the Big Bang and the final installment looks at theories involving extraterrestrial life. If the topics sound familiar, their presentation is always fresh, dynamic, and thoroughly accessible. Watching Origins would be a great, context-providing preface to the study of a number of niche subjects, including geology, physics, biology, and much else. An invaluable production. --Tom Keogh


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Neil Degrasse Tyson
  • Directors: Alice Harper, Julia Cort and Larry Klein, Thomas Levenson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: December 7, 2004
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001WTWPG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,656 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The NOVA four-part series, Origins, is the perfect gift for a lay person who's interested in the evolution of earth and its unique place in the Universe. I found myself totally engrossed in the development of our planet, learning things that I never knew. I had no idea that our moon was created when another planet struck earth billions of years ago, or that the oceans on our planet were actually formed from the ice on comets that hit earth during its formative years. I didn't know that life on our planet began from the microbes that came here attached to the comets and astroids that struck earth. I didn't know that it was because of having a planet the size of Jupiter in our solar system that we were actually shielded from the vast majority of destructive astroids that travelled through our system. This enabled life on earth to continue without too many major interruptions. I didn't know that scientists have already discovered other solar systems within our galaxy that have planets and the possibility of life. And, these are just a few of the things discussed by Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson as the host and narrator of Origins. This is a show with a wealth of information geared to people of all ages with an acute interest in our planet and the universe. The only complaint I have is that some of the computer animations were showed over and over again, especially in Parts 1 & 2. Other than that, Origins is an excellent series that teaches the viewer about astronomy, biology and geology in a way thats informative and highly entertaining and never boring! A great gift for kids who are just getting started in their quest to understand the origins of life.
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A Kid's Review on November 19, 2004
Format: DVD
It's a great 4-part NOVA mini-series about the origins of the solar system and life on earth. Scientific information is presented in an interesting and clear manner. Suitable for kids as well as grownups. Simply wonderful!
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Format: DVD
This package contains 2 DVD's and about 4 hours of programming. The production quality is excellent for an educational series. The producers especially loved the visual animation of the earth colliding with a Mars sized planetesimal approximately 50 million years after the formation of the earth which resulted in the moon and a larger earth, because they used the graphic 5 or 6 times on the 1st two episodes(disc 1). The Earth was spinning 4 times faster in the early days and the moon was 6 times closer. The young sun was weaker and the atmosphere had only 1% Oxygen but within a few hundred million years there was solid crust and large volumes of liquid water. 6 hour days and up to 200 foot tidal pulls on the earth's crust by the moon's gravity with each rotation. Another concept the producer's absolutely loved was that it took almost 3 billion years for single celled photo-synthetic bacteria to bring the level of Oxygen in the atmosphere up enough to turn the planet from red to blue. When you think about it, that is a pretty awesome thing ! So for 21 hours of the 24 hour day analogy, the surface of planet earth was either lifeless(the first 600 million years (3.4 hours) or dominated by these single celled photo synthetic bacteria. Only in the last 3 hours did everything else evolve. There's more on the 1st two episodes including tests to confirm exploding meteors supplying the material for the spark of 1st life on the planet due to peptide formation from the pressure of impact on amino acids. Episode 1 Disc 2 is goes into great detail on the possibility of extra-terrestrial life and episode 2 deals with the making of a detailed map of the universe 380 thousand years after the Big Bang(13.7 billion years ago) when everything had finally cooled down enough to emit visible light.Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I thought this Nova program was very entertaining. It is a lively

presentation and helps answer many questions about the origins

of life. I feel it is an excellent choice for the whole family

and something that is well worth veiwing.
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Format: DVD
I showed excerpts from this series to my ninth-grade science classes and got lots of positive feedback. My own kids liked it as well. Lots of good "probable case scenarios." Will drive creationists crazy.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Family viewing" might not be the first phrase that comes to mind here, but this 2-DVD set is perfect viewing for adults & children alike, or for anyone who wants to know how we & the universe came into existence. Hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson, it examines what we know (so far) about 4 pressing questions: (1) how did the Earth come into being, (2) how did life develop on Earth, (3) could there be life on other worlds, and (4) how did the universe itself begin. Tyson does a wonderful job, explaining some fairly complicated material in a way that anyone can easily grasp. And just as importantly, his warmth & his passion for science should encourage a lot of budding scientists in the viewing audience. Given the obstacles that science faces in our increasingly anti-intellectual culture, this is no small thing.

Already a few years old, subsequent discoveries will undoubtedly fine-tune, or perhaps even invalidate, some of the information presented here. But that's the scientific method at work, a point Tyson makes more than once. Even better, without shortchanging the sheer drudge work involved, he evokes the elegance & wonder of science. Each time I watch this series, I'm filled with renewed awe that we can imagine & understand such concepts. It also gives me a real sense of perspective, reminding me that of just how small & fleeting we really are, and making me shake my head at how much of our lives we waste on unimportant things. So there's a philosophical aspect to the series as well. Frankly, it's beyond me how someone could take in this view of existence and not be deeply moved by it.

Highly recommended!
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