9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Great for the Curious - Well Presented, Easy to Understand, Loaded with Info,
This review is from: NOVA: The Fabric of the Cosmos [HD] (Amazon Instant Video)
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.
Here's why this documentary series is so good:
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.
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.