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Wonders of the Universe

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Wonders of the Universe (DVD)


Wonders of the Universe is a lovely, sometimes surreal journey to the edges of reality and back--and a fully entertaining experience right here on planet Earth. British scientist Brian Cox is a personable host for this BBC miniseries--an enthusiastic teacher who could be Carl Sagan's English offspring. Wonders of the Universe is a follow-up to Wonders of the Solar System, and some of the same territory is covered. But Wonders of the Universe contains plenty of amazing information and visuals in its four episodes. Cox and his producers don't claim to speak to the scientific community (for which he and the series have received some mild complaints) but instead present for the lay audience a basic overview of four pretty giant topics: "Destiny" (the laws of the universe), "Stardust" (how stars and solar systems--and life--are formed), "Falling" (the science of gravity), and "Messengers" (the study of the travel of light, and what might lie beyond the farthest reaches of our knowledge). If the topics are big, Cox's approach is down-to-earth and infectiously captivating. It's hard to imagine a more enthusiastic scientist just brimming with superlatives he wants to share with his audience. The photography, and Cox's travels to little-known ancient ruins around the world where prehistoric peoples built structures to study the stars, are both truly heavenly. Wonders of the Universe makes understanding the barely comprehensible easy and very enjoyable. Great for star watchers of all ages. --A.T. Hurley

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 30, 2011
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,063 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

I found each episode to be thoroughly enjoyable.
The other awesome thing about these DVDs is the high quality and resolution of the pictures, not to mention all of the footage from the Mars rovers.
Professor Brian Cox has a passion for understanding the way the universe works and explains physics concepts clearly.
Denise McCoskery

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 87 people found the following review helpful By rossuk on May 8, 2011
Format: DVD
This review is based on the series as aired in the UK, March 2011. This is a follow-up to `Wonders of the Solar System'; it has the same format with Brian Cox travelling the world. As usual, some science background will help you to appreciate this series, my degree is in physics. I found it a bit slow, it is also dumbed down in places, and it is only four episodes, hence only 4 stars. The account of the nucleosynthesis of the heavy elements in stars and supernovae was fascinating, we are all made of star dust (Ep 2).

Episodes (adapted from BBC iPlayer and youtube)

1. Destiny

Professor Brian Cox explores the laws of the universe. In this episode, Brian seeks to understand the nature of time and its role in creating both the universe and ourselves.

It looks at the furthest star that we know, which blew up 13.0bn years ago. It looks at the arrow of time which is always moving forward, which he relates to the second law of thermodynamics, entropy always increases, i.e. the tendency to go from order to disorder. He looks at the stelliferous era. The red dwarfs will be the longest lived stars in the universe, because they burn their fuel so slowly. The death of stars will be in a 100 trillion years time, leading to the heat death of the universe when all matter will disappear leaving only photons. However the good news is that the arrow of time gives a point in time (i.e. now) when intelligent life is possible in the universe. He ends with the single pixel picture of earth taken by Voyager.

2. Stardust

What are we and where do we come from? Professor Brian Cox finds out.
Read more ›
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Androly-San on May 24, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Just as the first reviewer, this is based on the series as it aired on the BBC. It does not speak for any additional scenes or features that may be found in the disc version.

Similarly to Wonders of the Solar System, Wonder of the Universe focuses on familiar subjects and doesn't pretend to teach advanced physics to the audience. It's a show aimed at facilitating understanding of appealing subjects and to initiate the viewer into ideas and concepts that can lead to much deeper - and more interesting - waters.

Professor Cox is a great presenter, as his attitude and general excitement about these subjects is very easily contagious. I suppose he's easy to relate to because he speaks our language - that of the layman - when explaining things that took the greatest scientists in history decades to decipher.

The 4 episodes do a good job at staying within their topics, so an overwhelming number of concepts are not thrown around, which makes these otherwise complicated subjects easy to follow. The second episode - Stardust - is particularly awesome. Even though it's something most people are probably familiar with, it never fails to excite you when you see it presented in such a way. The fact that every atom in my body once exploded from within a star will never bore me :)

My only complaint is that it's only 4 episodes long. The good news? There's a 'Wonders of Life' in the works :)
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Derek Jones on June 18, 2011
Format: DVD
The minority who did not like "Wonders of the Solar System" will not like "Wonders of the Universe", but the many more who did like it will enjoy this one too - though it is not quite as good as the first series in my opinion. It has been claimed that it has little serious science. This is true. For example, compare what was said about the arrow of time and entropy with the Wikipedia page on the subject, which contains much more information on a single page. However, this misses the point. Professor Cox has rightly described the series as a "cinematic experience". It combines state-of-the-art CGI, wonderful astronomical photos, soaring music, exotic locations, fancy camerawork, and the infectious enthusiasm of Cox himself. As for the science, there may not be much depth but the topics covered are very well done and explained with crystal clarity. Everybody watching these DVDs, whether a child or a senior, will complete their viewing with some understanding of topics ranging from the life and death of the universe and the formation of the elements, to gravity and light. Just as important it is likely to have inspired enthusiasm and a sense of wonder. For that we must thank Brian Cox. The impact he has made with both "Wonders" series can be gauged by the fact he is being called by many "the David Attenborough of astrophysics". High praise indeed.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kenna on August 31, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Professor Brian Cox explores big cosmic questions and explains things in down to earth terms. As a presenter he has a natural approach and his childlike enthusiasm is infectious. The cinematography is stunning and the computer graphics are top notch. The music is sweeping and beautiful. Almost like a meditation on life, the universe and how we're all connected.

I found each episode to be thoroughly enjoyable. Professor Cox has a genuine love of science and clearly wants to share it with as many people as possible. He does so in a way that is neither boring or redundant. This is one of the finest series on the universe I've seen. A real fresh approach. I recommend viewing with the lights off for the full experience.
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