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Nova: Fabric of the Cosmos [Blu-ray]
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2011
I kind of understand Quantum mechanics now, thanks to this show. I don't understand entanglement, but no one else does either (right?).

Seeing Bohr's electron "orbit shifting" visually was a breakthrough for my feeble Physics 100 level brain. I now "get" quantum theory, thanks to the show combining Bohr's electron shifting with the use of bowling as a model for the famous "double slit" experiment.

Entanglement entangles me though. No one seems to understand why it is possible. But they lost me when they showed that you could make a copy of a body of molecules and rebuild them somewhere else. I understand how you can transfer the "data" (we do that with FAX machines and "serialization" of data bits in programming all the time). Big question (where they lost me..).. Why does the "original" Captain Kirk disappear when his entangled copy of Kirk appears on the planet surface? When I download an MP3 file from Amazon, the file is still on their server..
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2011
"The Fabric of the Cosmos" is a four-part educational series by Nova from 2011. It is based on the book "The Fabric of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene who also serves as the host for all four videos. It is available in 1080i high-definition (HD) on blu-ray and this is the what I purchased. So my review and 5-star rating are based on the HD blu-ray version.

The videos in the series are:

Part 1: What is Space? - 56 minutes
Part 2: The Illusion of Time - 56 minutes
Part 3: Quantum Leap - 55 minutes
Part 4: Universe or Multiverse? - 56 minutes

Parts 1 and 2 are provided on blu-ray disk 1 and Parts 3 and 4 are provided on blu-ray disk 2.

In "The Fabric of the Cosmos" Brian interviews many of the same experts from his 2003 series "The Elegant Universe" but the material only overlaps a little. I have both series and consider "The Fabric of the Cosmos" to be an excellent companion to "The Elegant Universe". Sadly, the latter is not available in HD like the former.

The information in the Amazon ad contains some mistakes. The aspect ratio of the HD version is NOT the old 1.33:1. Rather, it is a widescreen 1.78:1 and looks gorgeous on a 1080i or 1080p widescreen HDTV/monitor. Plus, the total running time for the four videos is not 240 minutes. It is 223 minutes.

The subjects covered by "The Fabric of the Cosmos" are presented at an entry level that is suitable for a novice. Most viewers will find it both entertaining and educational. I give it my highest recommendation.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I just watched the first segment of the new series, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and thought it was well done. I remember watching the Carl Sagan Cosmos series years ago and Brian Greene does an admirable job in making some fairly exotic physics about the ultimate reality and reconfigurability of space come alive. If the other segments of the series are comparable, I believe they will become a higthly educational and memorable collection.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This review is on NOVA: The Fabric of the Cosmos, Ep. 4 "Universe or Multiverse?"

I like to think that I am an unique individual, but here in this fourth episode of Nova: the Fabric of the Cosmos, renowned physicist and author Brian Greene proposes that there might be another me writing Amazon reviews at this exact moment - in a parallel universe exactly like ours. In fact, according to Brian Greene, our universe is just one among an infinite number of universes floating like bubbles in a forever expanding "multiverse". This theory is advanced by American physicist Alan Guth and Russian physicists Alex Vilenkin and Andrei Linde. They propose that the Big Bang, which created our universe, is merely one of an infinite number of bangs in the past and will be in the future, creating an infinite number of universes, each with its own properties, in an eternal inflationary multiverse. In this multiverse with infinite number of universes, one of them is going to be exactly like ours with a duplicate of each one of us. This theory of eternal inflation seems to be supported by the String Theory of quantum mechanics and the actual measurement of the amount of dark energy in our universe. But is the multiverse fairy tale or serious science? I'll let the viewers decide. Brian Greene has done a marvelous job explaining an immensely complicated subject in the simplest terms. Don't miss out on this thought provoking series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2012
Nice program showing how "mixed up" modern physics has become with the possibility of other universes, other dimensions and other physical laws all being theoretically possible and all being explored by scientists. The theories are all explained in such a manner that they are still accessible to the general public. Brian Greene has become the heir to Carl Sagan when it come presenting the subject of physics to the general public by way of books and TV.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2013
It was very interesting. In some places hard to follow. Would be better if they took it down a notch so that simpler ideas built slowly to the more 'outrageous' ideas of time and space not being what we have thought. It was helpful for me though.....and I would like to see more shows like this.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2011
I have always wondered how the universe is "put-together". I'm a college student, and I've taken my share of Chem, Bio, and Physics to learn basic rules and understand what happens, how to calculate formulas, etc. However, none of these classes ever answered the major, over-arching "why?" questions. In all honesty, memorizing formulas and rules for for undergrad university classes actually bores me - however, the thought-provoking material presented in these documentaries greatly fascinates me. All I want from a documentary is to be entertained, learn accurate and current information, and have enough supporting information to believe the claims (but not have so much evidence that I need to have Masters Degree to understand it.) The Fabric of the Cosmos is the most well presented and concise documentary on this topic.

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Here's why this documentary series is so good:
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1) Presentation. It's not a boring science documentary by any means. It's a NOVA documentary meaning it's high budget, well animated and genuinely fun to watch. This isn't something that you have to force yourself to watch - the plethora of examples, metaphors, clips from interviews with professors and researchers, and thought provoking questions always keep you engaged. That being said it's still a documentary and you do have to pay attention - you can't just stare blankly at the screen and hope to become an expert.

2) The information is given in a question-answer format. They start by explaining something simple that seems like common sense and then they keep complicating it by asking questions that require new experiments and thus new theories. In other words, they present models and then raise questions and show anomalies that push for a new paradigm. Rather than going in a boring linear progression that cites major scientists to show how humanity's perception of the universe progressed, the question answer approach is much more engaging.

3) The supporting evidence they give is also very concrete and useful. Every study and experiment is described well enough to not bore but also explain what is actually going on. Rather than just saying "Joe Mac did an experiment that proved blah blah," they phrase it as "Joe Mac devised an experiment using blahbalh and if the results were blabhblah then the theory would be supported". When it comes to science, I usually am a skeptic until I see solid evidence and this show backs up almost all of its claims. Going back to what I said earlier, this is because they start from a common sense, every-10-year-old-knows-that idea and keeps on building until they arrive at today's current model.

4) Easily accessible but highly informative. This is the beauty of the series: you could know nothing about physics or the universe and still learn a huge amount, but even if you are knowledgeable on the subject, you won't be bored. There are plenty of metaphors that anyone could grasp (for example, they use the popular rubber sheet gravity example to show how heavy objects like the earth can bend space as shown by sinking into the rubber sheet, then showing how this causes smaller objects like the moon to stay in revolution around the earth -- if you couldn't catch that, blame my description because the metaphor in the video is gold). Whilst making complex ideas easier to grasp, they continuously cite experiments or play clips from interviews that introduce new information and keep you engaged.

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Conclusion
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This series is new, features quite new discoveries, and is packed with information. If you watch it, you will learn plenty and maybe you could even share it with friends or family over dinner. The best part is that it's open to anyone and it's actually fun to watch. If you're a prime member, it's even free to stream. If you want to get an overview of how the universe "works" but don't want to read dozens of technical and theoretical texts, then this is the perfect introduction to satisfy your curiosity. I highly recommend it, it's everything and more of what you'd come to expect from a NOVA documentary.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is on NOVA: The Fabric of the Cosmos, Ep. 1 "What Is Space?"

In this first episode of Nova: the Fabric of the Cosmos, renowned physicist and author Brian Greene tells us about the familiar and yet curious nature of space. He says that empty space is not empty; it is substantial. It bends, twists, and interacts with objects in it to form curvatures, which is responsible for what Isaac Newton called gravity. Furthermore, space merges with time to form a continuum dubbed space-time, in which time and space changes relative to each other; as an object moves through space, time slows down. Meanwhile, down at the subatomic level, empty space is teaming with ferocious activities, where elementary particles pop into existence out of nothing and promptly annihilate each other in a billionth of a second. We may in fact owe our very existence to empty space, according to the theory of Higgs Mechanism, advanced by Peter Higgs and others, which proposes that elementary particles gain mass while moving through space filled with Higgs bosons. Furthermore, space is permeated with an expanding force dubbed dark energy, which pushes space outward and may ultimately result in the Big Rip, in which space itself and everything in it are torn apart. At the end, Brian Greene briefly touches on the Holographic Principle which states that the universe is in fact a three-dimensional hologram projected from information smeared over a two-dimensional surface. I don't pretend to understand it. Brian Greene has done a marvelous job explaining an immensely complicated subject in the simplest terms. Don't miss out on this thought provoking series.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2012
Enjoyable to watch, informative and makes you think. Delivered in an understated and thoughtful manner.
It helps you understand how things really are in the universe and on Earth and what we have yet to learn, and shows you there is no need to believe in Iron Age fairy stories to explain things. It explains hard to explain concepts well, or as well as it is possible to do, as they are very strange and hard to grasp concepts, so well done Brian.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2011
Another top notch Nova show that isn't afraid to present challenging concepts. Usually shows on physics and astrophysics are either totally dumbed down or presented with exploding stars. This video gives us the idea then explains it with interesting graphics. It is geared toward adults instead of junior high kids. The final concept, the universe as hologram, can be seen in the Stargate series. I always wondered how that would work and now I know. Would love to show this at a Teaparty meeting.
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