God is light. In all cultures, there’s an intimate association between illumination and divinity, between life and creation.
Light is color. Light is energy. It fuels life and it feeds the spirit. It inspires art, religion, and science. Light holds the secrets of the universe. For thousands of years, humanity has tried to unlock the mysteries of light in its’ search for the nature of God himself.
Light Fantastic explores the phenomenon that surrounds and affects nearly every aspect of our lives but one which we take for granted – light.
1. Let There Be Light. Greek and Arab scholars, and later Europeans such as Descartes and Newton all tried to understand light to gain a better understanding of God. Episode one shows how much of modern science’s origins came from the desire to penetrate the divine nature of light.
2. The Light of Reason. The second programme explores the link between the development of practical tools that manipulate light and the emergence of new ideas. For example, Galileo’s observation that the sun did not go around the earth, was made with a telescope that had been invented for Venetian soldiers and traders.
3. The Stuff of Light. Episode three charts the discovery of the true nature of light and its impact on the modern world. All of today’s technologies – electricity, mobile communications and our ability to illuminate the world 24 hours a day – stem from unravelling the mystery of light.
4. Light, The Universe and Everything. In the final programme Simon Schaffer finds that as more people were able to manipulate light, the more puzzling and tricky it became. This led to investigations into the strange relationship between light, the eye and the mind, and the development of new technology such as photography and cinema.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 4 hours)