The Elegant Universe

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Ratings: 8.35/10 from 52 users.

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Nova - The Elegant UniverseAdapted from a provocative book by Brian Greene, this deeply engrossing documentary -- which originally aired on PBS's NOVA in three parts -- attempts to explain the controversial string theory, a complicated scientific proposal that, in short, posits a single explanation for many of the universe's mysteries. As affable an egghead as you're likely to find, Greene engages an array of physicists in his examination of string theory, which in part blends Einstein's theory of relativity with the complex laws governing quantum mechanics. Although mind-numbing technical terms are kept to a minimum, those of us not conversant with advanced physics might feel a bit lost at times.

Still, the subject is undeniably fascinating, and some of the conclusions are nothing short of mind-blowing: a reasoned, professional discussion of a universe encompassing 11 separate dimensions certainly calls Johnny Carson's "I did not know that" to mind.

In some ways reminiscent of Carl Sagan's Cosmos series, The Elegant Universe is even tougher to get a handle on. But the effort will prove rewarding, especially when you're looking for a way to melt the ice at cocktail parties.

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98 Comments / User Reviews

  1. skimray

    Brian Greene's writings are so fluid and down to the earth that virtually anyone can understand and follow complex concepts. For someone like me that has no grasp of spatial relationships or abstract notions, I find his writing easier to understand and not frustrating in the fact that I need to throw the book across the room or just stop reading altogether. (I still don't understand most of Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" even with color pictures!) I adore his writing and thoroughly enjoy the documentary.

  2. Vlatko

    That's right. Brian Green is very understandable when it comes to explaining complex concepts.

  3. Leeann

    Amazing website - thank you!!!!!!!

  4. Sarah

    The 11th dimension one hurts my head. Seriously, I don't think we're wired right to understand it - except on paper.

    Great film, now I'm going to go find some books on this to see if they can show me some mathetimatical proof - otherwise it feels like they're just pulling all this stuff out of thin air, lol.

  5. Alexander

    This website is great! for those of us who have a bit of interest in growing mentally and why not spiritually it should be great for everybody but... this Documentary is really good and I agree with everybody here Brian Greene is great at giving complex explanations. Well the best vibes to everyone here from Mexico City.

  6. Vlatko

    Thanks Alexander.

  7. Brad

    Maybe we can put the people from Haiti in a different dimension, so they will stop being such an albatross around the neck of humanity.

  8. Vincent Williams

    I'm confused by the last comment. Are you deliberately being absurd?

  9. Kieran

    I agree Vincent.. Brad take your asshole comments with you... You're obviously not bright enough to realise that the people of Haiti are on their knees. Lets hope it never comes to your neighbourhood. I really should be exhalting Vlad on yet another victory for freedom of thought with this fab documentary, yet, here I am.. Such a shame. Thanks all the same tho.

  10. Dc

    Great documentary with a complicated topic put in an understandable way... anyone else annoyed by the completely unnecessary comedy sound effects? Maybe suitable for a home video show but with physics... c'mon!

  11. Chris

    Valtko, I just watched this doc. String Theory is impossible because it requires the existence of 'gravitons.' According to String Theory (and quantum theory btw), these are the particles that are supposed to transmit the gravitational force, rather like the way photons transmit light. However, there are problems with their existence. Here are three:

    1. They have never been observed and seem to exist only in the mathematical constructs of theorists -- mostly mathematicians who seem to have taken over cosmology. Additionally, just saying that they 'could' exist simply because they have not been proven to not exist is not valid science.

    2. More specifically, if gravitons exist, then black holes cannot exist. Think of it this way: Gravitons are a particle, and so can not travel faster than light. The gravity well of a black hole is too steep to allow light to escape. How then does the graviton escape in order to transmit the gravitational force beyond the event horizon? If you think black holes do not exist, would you please contact Stephen Hawking regarding your research.

    3. All stars exert sufficient gravity on their own light to cause their light to redshift, however slightly. If gravitons are real, they would be emitted (at the speed of light, by the way) right behind every photon, which is also moving at light speed. How then could the graviton catch up to the photon in order to red-shift it? Further, it creates a 'simultaneity paradox' when the graviton (which represents transmitted information just like electromagnetic radiation) is received by an observer before the event actually happens.

    Just because Brian Greene was able to make a ton of money by creating an entertaining program (with lots of cool effects) for the uneducated does not prove his case for String Theory. There are other fatal problems with string theory but this is one of the biggies because it cannot be solved. No matter how attractive the concept of String Theory, the non-existance of gravitons makes string theory, along with its many dimensions, i-m-p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e.

    However, the non-existance of gravitons agrees with General Relativity. It's not a proof but is does help to support it. In conclusion: Don't fall for every sexy new theory without first spending the time to research a few peer-reviewed papers or by discussing it with a physicist older than 50.

  12. Achems Razor

    Gravity is not seen in general relativity as something that travels through space as a pulse of light.
    Gravity is a property of space itself. Because of this, it is not necessary for gravity to "escape" a black hole at all. Gravity doesn't work that way as a physical phenomenon.

    It would be like saying that space has to "escape" a black hole, or that time has to "escape" a black hole.
    In general relativity, space, time and gravity are placed on equal footing as physical things.

    The Quantum description of gravity, however changes this a bit.
    Gravitons do not exist in general relativity, because GR is not a Quantum theory. When the theory of Quantum gravity is fully developed it still might not be best to describe gravitational attraction as produced by virtual gravitons.

  13. Chris

    Achems, from your post, I cannot tell if you are agreeing with me or not. I had thought you were a string theory supporter.

  14. Achems Razor

    @ Chris:

    Well, string theory is one of the latest theory's, but there is probably more to it. The only time they will know for sure is when they come up with the theory of everything.

    They still do know what gravity actually is. Yes I know, bending space-time and all that, but it is still conjecture. I believe it has something to do with so called dark matter.

    To get any real answers about gravity, it has to originate at the Quantum level.
    And I do believe they are working on it.

  15. Chris

    Oh, they are working on it, I'm sure.

    My opinion: Both Quantum and GR theories have broken down and the fault lies with the overzealous easily excitable mathematicians who seem to have taken over from experimenters and observers. While it is possible to construct useful predictive models of the real world with mathematics, it is also very easy to construct hypothetical world that predict anything you want. It's scientific bizzaro world.

    It has been claimed that quantum theory predictions are the most accurate but their accuracy is mostly regarding other math. On a very practical level, the quantum world exists only on paper. Most of it (not all) is not observable and must be inferred. The reality of Quantum Mechanics is math equations.

    And since over 90% of the mass/energy in the universe is also inferred as dark energy/matter but not observable in any wavelength, it seems that General Relativity is running into the same problems. You would think that a theory that must create such a huge hypothetical (magical some would say) amount of mass and energy just so the equations work would signal to some that this theory has broken down. And yet, I see no red-faced embarrassment by the people insisting on their scientific myths while they spend enormous sums of government money.

    The value of a theory lies in its predictive power. Predicting gravitons and a missing 90% of the universe clearly demonstrates that the value of both GR and QM is evaporating.

    While there are facts and some truth in both theories, there is some amount of value. But since they both cannot be correct, the error must be built into the equations of both as well.

    While it is discounted by many, I see many solutions to the problems in GR and QM in Plasma cosmology. Have you heard of this?

  16. Chris

    PS Something that many casual observers don't realize is the large degree in which Philosophy drives Science. The vast majority of scientists dare not venture outside of the accepted dogma of their field for fear of losing tenure. There are few venues available that provide a safe environment and the freedom for true experimentation and exploration. That is why there has not been the breakthroughs needed to bring GR and QM under control.

  17. Achems Razor

    Yes, Have heard of plasma cosmology, as a matter of fact, here on TDF is a doc called "Thunderbolts of the Gods" that delves into an Electric And plasma universe.

  18. Franck

    Unification = God ??? hmmmm

  19. Franck

    Thanks to Green i finally understand a fascination have had for ever. Weinberg is brilliant and Gates is also brilliant plus he as an incredible hairdo (the complete opposite of Einstein's).
    How is it the formula in physics goes haywire when it gets to the infinitely small, but in the Mandelbrot set formula it actually gives the answer of perpetuation, if of course i understood correctly.
    Now String Theory doesn't do it for me, and the stretch of the Universe doesn't either. If i stay with a simple logic, that there seems to be always a direct opposite (up/down, forward/backward, right/wrong, etc) then why not simply think; 1. The Black Hole pulls the infinitely large into an infinitely small state so logically the opposite would be the Black Mass pulls the infinitely small into a infinitely large state.
    2. The Black Hole then would be a tunnel that the infinitely small could go threw in a incredibly dense state resulting in the end of a equation (formula) so inevitable destruction of that incredibly dense state would then reconstruct (Bing Bang) on the other side of the Black Hole, maybe then an other Dimension or call it what ever, in anyways it would be the starting point of the Bing Bang Theory and if we continue to stay in this simple logic mind frame then the end result could only be the perpetual expansion of the Universe or Universes even.
    Oh boy ! if there's physicists here i'm in big trouble lol.
    Peace.

  20. BBC

    These vids were really well done, especially for a non-phder. I do think that based on the history of science, the string theory will be proved correct eventually. I do find it a little absurd, especially growing up to all the sci-fi shows that i disliked, hahahaha

    If string theory is proved true, would it some how negate that energy can not be created or destroyed? Where does the string energy come from, the string then is not the smallest known thing then. It would appear infinite, which one scientist in video says is impossible.

    get a couple of mirrors, place them parallel and see the dimensions ;)

  21. Joe_nyc

    BBC

    "all the sci-fi shows that i disliked"

    That's blasphemous! ;)

  22. Achems Razor

    @ Franck:

    String theory is just one way of saying that everything vibrates at a vibrational level.
    Our whole Universe is at one vibrational level, "one Planck length"
    of which there are an infinite number. And I must add an infinite number of probabilities,

    But since science claims space and time are illusion, everything then is static. Everything is all ready done.

    I realize that this is difficult to comprehend since we are used to time, stuck in time so to speak, we envision our existence as one unbroken fluid motion.

    But in reality our existence is not one unbroken fluid motion, it is broken up into segments that are called "Now's" approx. 30 "Now's" per second. And that is where probabilities can come into play. Probable actions that you may take or not take that form your ongoing reality.

    You mentioned the Mandelbrot Set, yes it does go to infinity, but that is only a math construct, nothing tangible, not physically viable.

  23. BBC

    Achem,

    My head is hurting trying to grasp that.

  24. Achems Razor

    @ BBC:

    Yes, I agree, It took me years to even remotely grasp what I just included. But I assure you it is real. Ask some theoretical physics scientists.
    Actually, Google "Julian Barbour" on his end of time theory.

    This is Quantum theory, which is completely weird. But little by little it does sink in.

  25. Joe_nyc

    Razor

    Fact that it took you years to grasp gives me some comfort.

  26. Achems Razor

    @ Joe_nyc:

    I didn't say I was a genius! (LOL

    I only grasped some, a lot, lot more that I do not know, YET!

  27. Franck

    Ya OK Achems Razor, maybe you can send your comment to Green then he could translate it and send it to me so we could discuss it LOLLOLOLOL.
    Now more importantly, does my theory do it to anyone ? Can i send it to the science Gods to get it publish ? LOLOOOLOLOLOL
    No but seriously, why make it complicated when you can make simple ?
    I mean, i understand the String, Quantum Mechanics, General Gravity, Time, Space, Energy, Mass, not as well as you and the MIT dudes, but i think enough to see that there are possible flaws, why always aim or result in infinities. I think it's to easy of an argument to always say "well if you can't disprove it, it could be possible". It's sounds like the same argument some have for God.
    The expert say themselves that the formula they use crumbles in the Black Hole.
    We know that Mass = Energy, yes ? (can i say Mass = Energy ??? or only Energy = Mass ?) so anyways, Mass in a Black Hole could turn into physical Energy logically. The way i understand some of the experts views are in a Black Hole, material becomes massless, emptyness ? You see where i'm going with this ?

  28. Achems Razor

    @ Franck:

    Simple you say? (LOL)

    My blog seems simple to me. If you want more insight on what I have said. I suggest you watch right here on TDF. "Parallel Universes"
    There are the top scientists on that doc. Will give you more insight.

  29. HaTeMaChInE

    I think they need to re-adjust Achems medication.

  30. Franck

    @Achems Razor,
    will do, thanks. Then i'll come back at you.
    peace.

  31. Achems Razor

    @ HaTeMaChinE:

    I didn't know you had a sense of humor!

  32. Franck

    @Achems Razor, i realized 5 seconds in the doc that i've seen right before this one. And i was thinking how it's the same doc but edited differently.
    I actually understood both of them a lot more then i though. Going in that direction, "String Theory" one admittedly said that Physicist are sometimes like Gurus and very often follow a fab. I guess it's another way of saying they might be wrong. Where i come in as a underdog is at Hawkins "Singularity". They were trying to stuff a square in a round space i think, making it complicated, now i just realised that you of all people would frown at this theory with a name like Achems Razor lolololooolololol "that the simplest solution is usually the correct one". Bottom line i prefer my theory "Perpetual Bang" witch is very simple, logical, where there's an infinity of Dimensions but not necessarily one that is exactly like ours but where we do completely the opposite. Why this Dimension ? It doesn't make any sense to me. What would be the purpose ? In that dimension we would step backwards, so getting away from answers to questions, no ? But then again we would step forward collectively in spirituality, resulting in a Dimension of Peace.
    "Big Bang", wow, what a scientific term lololololol. But there it's simple.

  33. Achems Razor

    @ Franck:

    Most scientific theory's are first envisioned via math, even Einstein's theory of relativity was at first a math construct, until all was proven by observation and other means.

    So yes, any theory could have some flaws.

    Question:... Why would you figure that a big bang would be simple? For a singularity to occur, it had to start from something, although "Null Physics" states that the Universe began from the number "zero".
    Physicists hypothesize that the state of "nothing" is actually "something" because if there is nothing, there would have to be something that has become nothing. Nothing is filling something, this goes as far as to say that the Universe really is nothing. Almost like multiplying a negative times a positive. Does that make sense?
    Even "Hawkins" stated that the Universe probably came from nothing.

    So for continuous "Big Bangs, the Universe would go from nothing to something, back to nothing, and than back to something always, almost like the Universe was breathing.

    But then, we would have take into consideration the other 10 to the 500 power of other Universes, wouldn't we.
    So Big Bangs are far from simple!
    And "Quantum Mechanics" states that everything that happens, happens at once. It is already done, it is static.

  34. Joe_nyc

    Franck

    Think about this: Did you know that time is not constant? For example, it's been proven that an earth orbital satellite's clock runs faster than the identical clock on earth( if your are a scientific minded google "Hafele–Keating experiment"). There are many theories to this phenomenon but, to my knowledge, there isn't a definitive explanation. You see, something so simple as time still alludes our understanding. Big-Bang? Forget about it. LOL

    For me, string is WAY harder but I am sure we will understand it soon enough just like the way we figured out that earth is round.

  35. Franck

    I think i understand what you're saying AR and i think i'm not explaining my thoughts in the best of ways.
    I can't believe or i can't subscribe if you prefer to the theory of Something coming out of Nothing, that it be Energy, Strings or Rope.
    The only way i can see Something coming out of Nothing would be by another Dimension. Who's to say that in another Dimension different Math/Physics are not used and have the answers.
    When you look at the sky at night time, you see Stars and behind those Star you can see a million other things with a telescope and nothing with the bare eyes, except a Black Background. Now this Black Background is Black because it's so far away that no light reached it yet ? Or because it's unreachable and is actually Nothingness ? Or what i'm trying to express, that the Black Background we see with our bare eye's or with a telescope is simply the end of our Dimension.
    Now what i understand from these Scientists in these Docs is that in this confined (inside that Black Background) infinite Space & Time that we can see around us but can not touch, there are micro micro micro x a Trillion and still counting, Vibrations that are Hollowed Membranes Like, hitting each other and creating what ? Dimensions ? Universes ? More Vibrations ?
    With the 2 mirror example you spoke about AR, i can see clearly where this thought of creation of thin lines for Dimensions comes from. But still disagree with the Lines, Strings, Ropes.
    I hope i make a little sense, and not get burned alive at the stakes.

  36. Franck

    OK i'll brush up on Quantum Mechanics.
    Fascinating Joe NYU.

  37. Achems Razor

    @ Franck:

    I didn't say I prefer Null physics, just sited that as one theory.
    You where talking about deep space field, telescopes can only go so far, what they have estimated is that the universe is 14.5 billion years old. The light that is reaching us now was formed when the Universe was first formed, after the inflation period.
    They do not know if there is any end, could be infinite, or could be folding back on itself.

    You are right, other Universes could have completely different set of construct, formula, ect;
    And other Universes are not out there in the vastness of space somewhere. they are right beside us, some only a nano-meter away.

    According to parallel Universes, the universes are thin membranes, that when they touch, or collide, creates another big bang.

    I believe it was @ BBC: that talked about the 2 mirror thing, when mirror images can go to infinity, but that is like Mandelbrot sets, no physical substance.

  38. Franck

    @ Achems Razor,
    By the 2 mirrors, i meant when you put them together in any degree you can see for example your finger appearing in one and at the exact place your finger disappears for the other mirror. You know what i mean.
    What light that reaches us ?
    And i don't like the Parallel Universes... . It couldn't be the same as Dimensions ( Eleven or Infinite).

  39. Achems Razor

    @ Franck:

    The light I am referring to is the light from the distant galaxy's in deep field of space.

    It took 14.5 Billion years to reach us traveling at 186,000 miles "per second".

    So light was already traveling for 9.95 billion years, before our earth was even formed 4.55 billion years ago.
    Sort of throws religion out of whack, doesn't it?

  40. Franck

    Yes completely wacko LOL.
    Yes of course, the light that shines back to Hubble... .
    With this new telescope "JWST" up in orbit in a few years it's going to be absolutely amazing. Will we ever reach or at the very least see the end of i don't know. We have to jump in a new Dimension before i die. What Grandiose discoveries our children's children will witness.

  41. BBC

    @Achem,

    Throws religion out of wack, unless God set it all in motion, in an instant. I mean if He is God then, couldn't that be possible?

  42. Achems Razor

    @ BBC:

    Well, to me not any man made God,Gods, If we must categorize everything, I just call it "All That Is"

  43. Charles B.

    Mr. Razor: I want to watch this doc tomorrow. Can you summerize it for me in 20 words or less? The summary above says it's hard to understand for the uneducated in String Theory. What should I try hardest to understand, in other words?

    Charles B.

  44. Achems Razor

    @ Charles B:

    Hi, Charles, It would probably take 2000 words for a summarize.
    The best thing to do is watch the doc. without trying to study it, without trying to find any hidden meanings.

    Then if you have questions, let me know, not saying that am an expert, but could answer to the best of my ability.

  45. BBC

    Achem,

    I still can't grasp the multiple universe idea. Was there more then one Bang? Or one Bang, and then the universes that were created banged into each other?

  46. Achems Razor

    @ BBC:

    It is hard to explain, according to Quantum, we live in a sea of potentials and unrealized actualization. Atoms don't just stay in one spot, they are flickering in and out to infinity, many places at once, at the same time.

    Even our thoughts are a Quantum event, through the process of entanglement all matter is constantly sharing information at speeds over a billion times the speed of light within the "Quantum Zero Point Vacuum". Our thoughts and matter are entangled.

    What we perceive as matter is really nothing more than a clustered ball of energy. That we actually bring together by our collective consciousness to form the things we see hear and touch.

    And in the sea of Quantum energy are infinite probabilities, these probabilities exist in often smaller than the diameter of the nucleus of an atom.

    The vibrational level that we are in, our Universe, of which there are unlimited other vibrational levels, other Universes.
    Parallel Universes that we could also be in, but we are not cognizant of. In those other Universes we could be in, we are cognizant in only them, and so on. Those other Universes could be just a bit different and going to the extreme of difference. Like maybe weird, Universes that have no matter, only energy, or only thoughts etc:

    And then, since the scientists say our Universe is like a membrane, that could be colliding with other membranes, again, unlimited membranes, causing "Big Bangs". even I sometimes have a hard time to understand it, I have been studying this stuff for years, so there it is, as simply put as possible.

  47. Franck

    @BBC, Check my theory. No more problem, no more question, it's solved, no Gods. LOLOOL

  48. BBC

    @Franck,

    hahahaha. You solved this where? Achem made more sense to me then you, but you get an A for effort.

    @Achem,
    I am not sure i can agree with the rewinding of the camera film, showing that it all comes back to one piece of mass. Where did that mass come from, and if energy can not be created of destroyed, then that energy was all in that ball of mass. Achem, you said yourself the energy was in that ball of mass. There has to be an error in the analogy of the rewinding of the film. I can not accept the bang, does the string have to link with bang? Can string not stand on its own? I realize Hubble's scientific discovery is amazing, but to theorize the rewind back to a ball of mass with energy is as plausible as a God who spoke the universe into creation. What if it did not rewind back to a ball of dense mass? This is hurting my brain, i have no clue how you studied all this stuff. Good on you.

    One more thought.
    Energy is eternal and always existed? This makes more sense to me. So energy, and energy waves could possibly explain the multiple universes? But it does not explain matter. It looks like i have no choice but to accept the idea of rewinding the film all the way back to the ball of mass.

  49. Franck

    So when the "Membranous Universes" collide it produces "Bing Bangs" ? Within those same Universes or is it creating Universes adjacent to the ones that collide one another ?

    Also, Is in it Theoretically possible that our Universe was created from another Dimension ? Intentionally ?

    @AchemRazor, you're killing man with the "Collective Consciousness". You shouldn't mix Physics and LSD ;)

  50. Joe_nyc

    I think time is the problem. We are confined by our concept of linear time and are too conditioned to think everything with a beginning and an end and that we fail to see the other realities which are not bound by time.

    In linear time, what happened 5 seconds ago only exists in our mind. If the reality blinks in and out of existence in light speed then was it ever real to begin with? Or is it infinite realities that are playing like a roll of film that isn't bound by time.

    LOL at myself ;)

  51. Franck

    Time and our Conditioning. Interesting Joe NYU.

  52. Chris

    I've been monitoring this thread with some interest and there are a few things I'd like to point out:
    1. The "multiverse" started as a philosophical, not scientific, proposal. It was invented as an attempt to overcome the two (supposed) major problems of Big Bang theory; that is "What came before the big bang?" and "Why are the basic physical forces of nature, matter and energy, and the cosmological expansion balanced to such an unlikely fine degree, a degree not required by the laws of physics?"

    The multiverse concept has many fatal problems: It does not address the concept of infinite regress. It does not address conflicts with laws of energy conservation or thermodynamics. It does not solve the problems it was supposed to solve. The multiverse is mostly a pet of mathematicians, philosophers, and others who do not know what to do with the origin singularity suggested by the big bang.

    The multiverse concept cannot truly even be called a 'theory' because it makes NO useful or real world predictions that can be tested within the universe. A theory that cannot make predictions cannot be called a 'theory' within proper scientific usage of the word. Therefore, the multiverse is a religion.

    2. For my second point, please refer to my above post on March 16th. Both string theory and most Quantum Mechanical theories require the existence of gravitons, which cannot co-exist with observed astronomical phenomena, effects, and within General Relativity, which for all its flaws, is still the strongest contender.

    Did anyone else catch on to the 'carnival barker' style of Brian Green? All the special effects and repeating the same thing over and over. He's a very good salesman for String Theory: the theory of nothing, about nothing, and that proves nothing. String Theory is a mathematical wonderland with little basis in reality.

    Are there any genuine post-doc physicists conducting current research on TDF that care to comment on this topic? A few days ago, I emailed Prof Chow, astrophysicist, UC Berkeley but no response as yet.

  53. Achems Razor

    @ Chris:

    Will welcome any scientific response on the topics we where discussing.

    Looking forward to Prof. Chow's scientific discourse.

    I must add though, Philosophy and science can sometimes find a home together.

  54. Achems Razor

    @ Joe_nyc:

    Good post. Is everything strictly in our minds? Is everything strictly a mind set? Is nothing really real?
    These are unanswered questions. From way back, Eastern philosophy etc:

  55. Franck

    YES ! Another view. Thank you. Yes for Plasma, Electromagnetism, Gravitons opposition to Gravity, my yin & yang.

  56. Joe_nyc

    Yeap! I am just gonna enjoy my beer.

  57. Chris

    @Achems:

    Well, yes I agree with your comment regarding philosophy and science. In fact, "science" by observation or experimentation usually starts with a philosophical view regarding an outcome anticipated logically through the scientific method. My point was that philosophy without physical observations lacks a proper ground to take it into the realm of science theory where it can be tested or provide testable predictions.

    I'm not the first to raise the objection that String Theory, while rich in mathematical equations lacks testable predictions or observable effects.

    Further, many valid avenues of legitimate scientific research are quashed because they violate accepted scientific dogma (i.e.: philosophy).

  58. Charles B.

    Wow! Chris, you've convinced me! I've become an "Astringist" where I don't believe that "strings" exist. They cannot be proven (they are just a matter of philisophical faith) and based on the doc come in at least five different denominational theories that can't even get along, but then that can somehow be fixed with mirrors and saying they are all the same thing really without an explination of WHY they are all the same thing. Likewise, Stringists obviously believe in the miraculous breaking of physical laws where nothing is impossible, and that just can't be. (I saw that guy walk through that wall! What posh!)

    Lastly, they believe in "Sparticles" and "Gavatons" which surely are just man-made superstitions and not real entities, to explain away thier misunderstandings of the natural world around us.

    Yes indeed! I am a full fledged "Astringist" now and I shall not be swayed from that view. They mentioned the "finger prints" of strings possibly being found in the future (greatly expanded in the stars nonetheless). I'll believe the strings "handiwork" when I see it with my own eyes and a string comes down and introduces him or herself in person, thank you very much. ;-)

    I feel sorry for all you "Stringees" out there! How can you believe in something so obviously rediculous and a man-made philosophy? Dare I say RELIGION (as it has no scientific method to EVER be proven or disproven)?

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Well, maybe. In my heart I believe in all the pretty little strings, but I'll never let on to you guys. ;-)

  59. Joe_nyc

    Looks like someone finally cracked. ;) Don't worry, my son also needs a gentle whack on his head time to time. As long as your head ain't stuck in the sand.....LOL

  60. Mike

    @ Chris

    String theory is still in its infancy just Like many other theories before it whom were being judged. People have said Without the ability to observe, a theory it is not reputable in science. When we have the technology to determine the outcome of these new theories, all whole list of new and outrageous theories will come into the picture.

  61. Amorbis

    after watching this for the third time along with other docs on the subject of M-theory, black holes, multiple universes, the big bang, and the universe its self, i have come up with my explanation of how the big band actually happened...

    this is basing off the knowledge that dark matter repels other dark matter(I'm pretty sure that's what it does).

    Dark matter and dark energy make up about 90-95% of the universe right? why is that? because it was already here when the big bang occurred... but since energy can't be created nor destroyed how can the big bang happen?

    well I believe that there was a build up of dark energy and that build up caused a large amount of dark matter to become "attractive" to other bits of dark matter, thus causing a conglomeration of dark matter to build. Because dark matter it heavier than normal matter it would compress more at a smaller size than normal matter would, giving off more heat(or whatever dark matter would give off, lets call it Dark Heat).

    The dark heat(which is a type of energy) would cause the dark energy around the conglomeration to move very quickly. and some of the energy would cause collisions inside the mass of dark matter. most of these collisions wouldn't be strong enough to brake the bond of the dark matter mass, but some(if the right strength) could cause the mass to revert to it's original state of pushing, but because of the immense pressure some f the dark matter is converted from dark matter to the matter we see around us now, and when the mass reverts back to the normal state of repulsion all of the normal matter trapped inside the mass is released at high velocity and at high temperature.

    That is my current theory of how the big bang happened... although I am still working on the idea, that is pretty much what I think.

  62. Amorbis

    Even though my idea does not include other universes into the event I still believe that other universes exist. I just think that when two branes collide they create a tear in the brane. causing gravitational anomalies which would dissipate fairly quickly... although I believe that when a black hole is formed from a star collapsing in on its self, it too creates a tear, but because it is created from a collapsing mass, it does not get patched up. and i believe that a black whole creates a path to the in-between of universes.

  63. John seals

    Sorry, but I can't see this as legitimate science. If it makes no real world predictions that can be tested or measured then it is just an idea. Maybe it is a well developed idea but just an idea none the less. Maybe if they keep going with this they will find a way to make some real world predictions that can be observed and measured, then we will see if it is just fantasy or science. Sometimes I think that scientist, just like people on this site sometimes, kind of get off on the shock factor. In other words the more out their an idea the quicker they seem to gravitate toward it. Let's not get too full of ourselves with all this sci-fi jargon, remember what science really is. We are attempting to dispell the belief in the out landish not create our own.

    P.s. Whoever it was that said we bend energy into matter by our collective consciousness is full of it.
    Razor was that you? Come on now you know better. Let's not give ourselves god like powers. Even as a collective whole humanity has nothing to do with the way matter is formed. The laws of physics decide that. One could look at matter as being the equivalant of energy, since it can be converted into enrgy I suppose. Still seems an awfull romantic view of physics you have their Razor.

  64. Achems Razor

    @ John seals:

    Yeh, am a romantic, offer all perspectives, you never know? by doing that, gives more generalized discussion and ideas that may some day be the spark of reasoning, that may form a concrete paradigm, proven by the scientific method.

    After all, everything is basically an idea first, is it not??

  65. makisig

    This docu, together with ''Stephen Hawking, Master of the Universe'', and two other docu's featuring Alan Davis and Marcus du Sautoy, changed everything.I would never look at the world-and the universe-the same way again! Thanks to whoever established this site, because of you we are able to learn what are not taught at our sectarian schools. My friends we're so happy after watching this docu's. By the way, any of you guys know some physics teachers who might wanna help me learn more about the subject? If you do, pls. send me his email so that I can contact him whenever I have a question to ask.

  66. Epicurean_Logic

    Hey, makisig, i teach maths $ mechanics provided you live or are willing to travel to the London area? in order to exchange contact details we have to go through Vlatko the site creator.

    If you dont live close by i will still give you my email and you can message me for help and advice.

    There is nothing i like more than students who want to learn!

    How does that sound?

  67. Ashish

    Unfortunately its likely that humans are just not smart enough to understand the Universe entirely. This makes me sad :-(

  68. Buddhist

    really enjoyed the discussion between Chris and Achems....... real good stuff! a lot of valid arguments! but both sides are ignoring a simple fact that non of present or past scientific disciplines have managed to produce evidence for any sort of inherency in any field.... observer is part of the equations in a "formless" dimension if you like...... therefore intentions and results are very similar if indeed not the same....

    @Ashish
    humans are definitely capable of understanding even more complex info, but training is needed.... how can one understand something beyond concept with a conceptual mind?

    personally i would urge many interested here to read up on emptiness concept within Buddhism before actually embarking on almost infinitely complex quantum physics mathematical calculations, just puts things into perspective!

  69. Ashish

    @ Buddhsit

    I think you're right. I think what makes humans so different (in a good way), is that we share and retain information that is carried down through the ages. So we avoid treading over the same ground again and again. I believe the appropriate quote is "stand on the shoulders of giants."

    But I must admit its nice to have people like Einstein and Newton who really push to boundaries of knowledge.

  70. tru

    this site rocks....

  71. doc-fan

    I just don't understand how branes' can be so thin as piece of paper (may be just illustrated concept is just messing me up) and yet stars are seen to be over 14.8 billion years in each direction and still traavel. This have been boggling my mind ever since I have watched first documentary about brane concept. Anyone could point me in direction in which I could have further look on this specific topic? I appreciate any help.

  72. Achems Razor

    @doc-fan:

    I know it is all weird stuff. "String theory", think of lines, lines everywhere, that have there own vibrations similar to say a guitar string, one note represents a vibration that coalesces the atoms that are flickering in and out of existence everywhere, and holds them steady to form the reality that you see, Another note hold atoms steady to form a different reality, and so one.
    And all the realities are co-existing simultaneously, nano-meters apart from each other.

    Can't think of any simpler way to describe this.

  73. emanuel

    These kinds of topics are very interesting and as I lay in bed at night spend much time thinking about them..But as of now they are too theoretical for what im after.

    Cant wait for 2016 with the projected completion of a new larger telescope dwarfing our current Hubble.

  74. Kasking

    I have heard, and don't remember if this documentary states this, that strings on the large end of the spectrum (i.e. universe in size) have been likened to branes (membranes) similar to vocal cords, and their interaction/collision with each other, creates "big bangs." My question for those better educated in current String Theory, "Is this an appropriate analogy?" In other words, Vocal Chord like "strings" creating multiple big bangs and we just happen to be a result of one of them?

  75. Viewer

    Very good site, very good films!

  76. college student

    if i had a professor like brian g in my college for phisics., belive me.. i would be a 2 or 3 einstein. you can understand him so perfect even with those dificult terms. Tnx professor B.. keep up the good work. i have been folloing your theories. 2 thumbs up-

  77. Doc

    How old is this documentary? Because Fermilab is by far NOT the best hope of finding out evidence of this stuff, compared to the LHC at CERN, the latter of which has been around for a long time.

  78. Doc

    All right they did mention it, sorry

  79. goettel

    Analogies only ever go so far, and even for seasoned physicists M-theory is very complex. Perhaps the holographic principle (google it) offers you further explanation, but I'm not sure that applies. Also, consider that physical dimensions and time aren't separate, so the property "thinness" is rather hard to define for branes, which are 'outside' of spacetime.

    I don't try to really understand cosmological concepts, just get a feel for them. Truly understanding them would involve understanding the actual math (since math is the only process which can describe them), and I'm long passed thinking I could.

  80. Duncan Koebrich

    "In some ways reminiscent of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series"? How do you figure, documentary gister? Cosmos was a journey with a pace marching to a different cadence...a smoother, pleasant presentation that assumes the viewer has the intelligence to appreciate the material without flashy, exciting passion-inspiring tactics to hold his/her attention. My love of Cosmos is such that I'm put off by poor comparisons. That's not to say that this is a poor documentary, I'm inclined to mention that I did enjoy it, just a poor comparison.

  81. Megan Attrill

    Oh god, not another documentary ruined with this shitty style of narration.. *puke*

  82. Nikolina Bratchkova

    I was reading the book, when I came across this documentary. It gives valuable visualizations without which I could not hope to grasp such complex concepts. Fascinating!

  83. Gabriel Michæl Anderson

    You confuse knowledge with understanding.

  84. mahonhouse

    so sick of hearing about the patent office.

  85. Michael Sullivan

    Oh god, not another person who just has to pointlessly express their negativity over how good information is provided. *eyeroll*

  86. Krzysztof Szpilovsky Rokita

    I have a funny feeling that additional six + 1 dimensions required by the M theory have something in common with theory called 'six degrees of separation' (another documentary on this website). six degrees shows how nature isn't really random. If strings do exist and naturally would be part of reality, number 6 in 2 theories I feel is somehow connected. Not really scientific explanation, just a feeling :)

  87. Johntechwriter

    Quoting Johnny Carson in 2013?
    Suggesting you will find this documentary rewarding "when you’re looking for a way to melt the ice at cocktail parties. . . ."?
    Who writes these descriptions, anyway?

  88. Shell Davison

    Ohhh like heaven? ;-)

  89. Shell Davison

    *there :-P
    Love your comment

  90. ChefBryn

    Why is American science programs so dumbed down with all the graphics and silly imagery ?
    I couldn't last go beyond 5 minutes

  91. awful_truth

    A great documentary for expressing to the layman the nature of physics, it's history, and and the possible implications for questions that we may never be able to answer.

  92. bruce thomas

    Ya, The series, I think it was "Popular Science"? on TV was so bombarded with flashing on n off fast moving graphics it could give a seizure. I was so excited until I watched it, I couldn't even focus the images would change so fast. a shame, I think they were trying to make it flashy and cool, it didn't wrk.

  93. Dave

    built into the nature of the universe is the evolution of the universe. We are here because it is happening. Just because you don't understand something... does not make it wrong. Look deeper and struggle harder and see more...

  94. Cristina R

    .. I thought people were overreacting about the flashing images, this never happened to me before but I couldn't watch it at all

  95. Oat Cakes

    Can I just say, Brian Greene is super adorable.

  96. ROMO

    great content, horrendous cheesy delivery though ! loose the frills

  97. Dp Jaysiah Doherty

    Never going to see to a Cello the same again

  98. hossaingoni

    you have make a excellent documentary with excellent content. you have used the content properly. i love your documentary very much and continue your work.

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