Everything and Nothing

Everything and Nothing

2011, Science  -   69 Comments
Ratings: 8.27/10 from 207 users.

Two-part documentary which deals with two of the deepest questions there are - what is everything, and what is nothing?

In two epic, surreal and mind-expanding films, Professor Jim Al-Khalili searches for an answer to these questions as he explores the true size and shape of the universe and delves into the amazing science behind apparent nothingness.

The first part, Everything, sees Professor Al-Khalili set out to discover what the universe might actually look like. The journey takes him from the distant past to the boundaries of the known universe.

Along the way he charts the remarkable stories of the men and women who discovered the truth about the cosmos and investigates how our understanding of space has been shaped by both mathematics and astronomy.

Part 2: Nothing

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2 years ago

If the most distant galaxies that are close to the edge of our visible universe have the greatest red shift I can understand that and it just seems intuitive that the light we are now seeing from those galaxies are from a more infant universe but to claim the universe is expanding at a faster rate as a result of those greater red shifts fails to make sense to me.

So the galaxies we see that are half that distance of our visible universe have less red shift and are from a more recent past and the galaxies that are a fourth of that distance of our visible universe have even less red shift and are from an even more recent past. Am I missing something? Seems to me the universe is slowing its rate of expansion. We know the Milky Way and Andromeda are on a collision course and will merge together in the galactic near future.

Since space can expand faster than the speed of light I’ll speculate that it can contract faster than the speed of light also. What if... beyond our visible universe or even within it for that matter, the universe is collapsing in on itself faster than the speed of light. We would never know. In less than a flash the universe as we know it would cease to exist.

4 years ago

Really good doc. I liked how it explore the subject through the evolution in our knowlegde of it.

5 years ago

This doc is so goood.

6 years ago

Please do not make generalized statements like if a star is not very bright it is likely further away. All stars do not have the same intensity. All stars are also not the same size.

6 years ago

WOW! Many thanks to Dr. Al-Kahlili for this engrossing documentary and for presenting it in such a beautifully understandable way. And, thanks to the BBC for producing it and to Michael Shermer for pointing it out on Twitter.

Furry Piglet
6 years ago

Amazing. So much complexity and beauty! Did all of it happen by accident? Did all of this order, which grows more mind-boggling the more we learn about it, arise out of chaos?

Peter Baxter
7 years ago

It was an attempt to prove something that he didn't understand the microwave pictures of the universe shows a cosmic egg shape that is flat . No explanation of that fact and the end of the universe could be a big freeze.

10 years ago

I watched this over a year ago but i want to watch it again. One of the docs that got me into this site. Great watch.

11 years ago

I would love to watch it but I live in the USA and I cannot find a link that works here. Can anyone help direct me to one? Thanks.

11 years ago

A must watch for anyone with the slightest interest in the Origin of the Universe. Very well explained.

11 years ago

i have this double episode show and i think its marvalous

Lauren Burdick
11 years ago

wait where is the full thing?!

12 years ago

This is an amazing piece of work, exploring space, both inner and outer. The Universe is a tantalizing and beautiful place.

12 years ago

Thank goodness for the BBC. Imagine if there was an American equivalent which was devoted to making doc's like this. Imagine how many more we would have! Aw well, at least we have one rational network in the english speaking world.

Watch out Michio Kaku, you've got some competition in Jim Al-Khalili.

Big thumbs up to the production crew on this one too. Beautiful cinematography and special effects.

12 years ago

Incredible doc. Very entertaining, informative, and thought provoking. I agree with Earthwinger about having actual professionals in whatever field is being documented hosting a documentary instead of paying actors. Professor Jim Al-Khalili did an excellent job of getting me more into the already interesting subject matter.

12 years ago

amazing, mind blowing, especially part 2 about nothing and the quantum world

12 years ago

the sun will be off very soon

12 years ago

"although this sounds completly rediclous, let me assure you that its true"

12 years ago

Pre-nothing and post everything: This leaves the question: What is before nothing? What preceded the collision of matter/anti-matter? What other dimensional collision caused this? Is there a relationship between the string theory and this matter/anti-matter reaction? On the other end of the spectrum of everything? What is beyond the cosmic web? Is it an ever conceived fractle with larger and larger scale from the observer's point of view, which breaks into yet another dimension?

12 years ago

See above

12 years ago

Ya gotta love Professor Jim!

One of the things that I love so much about BBC science documentaries, is that rather than draft in actors that give good face, or use husky voice-overs, they instead prefer to use scientists whose passion for their subject is infectious. And this one is an absolute "must see".

I've actually watched it a few times now, as I find it so engaging. I must confess though, I can't help but chuckle to myself at the scene where Prof. Jim is joined by Dr Andrea Sella, who creates a vacuum using mercury. Maybe it's just me, but it seems sweetly homo-erotic, especially the bit where Sella speaks Italian to him...cute! :D

12 years ago

This by far is one of the best commentators today. Up there with Carl Sagan in my books (close second i mean). I like how this Prof narrates. And he does come across like he knows what he's talking about.

12 years ago

Thank you for this.

12 years ago

Frighteningly illuminating.

12 years ago

tremendously illuminating. actually, it cleared up some of the misconceptions i've had about the nature of space.

great narrator, too.

12 years ago

the good old BBC.

12 years ago

Beautiful. Cellar door.

12 years ago

Just to say ...5 * Doc.....

12 years ago

excellent documentary, very well narrated. highly recommended

12 years ago

Alright now, after watching a bunch of failed ones, this is what i call a host. He never fails me. No one is better than Carl Sagan though.

12 years ago

This is simply an excellent documentary... The presentation is incredibly slick even for the BBC's high standards and Jim Al-Khalili makes an engaging and excellent host. I really appreciated the fact that (at least for me) there were a lot of scientific contributions from people that aren't as well known but that essentially changed science forever... For example Henrietta Leavitt's contribution concerning Cepheid Variables for me was so incredibly impactful yet... before this doc... i had never heard of her.. Edwin Hubble actually used her work which essentially became the basis for the creation of the "Standard Candle" concept in astronomy... I was impressed and grateful for finally becoming aware of this fact...
Plus, the experiment they conducted in the 1800's no less, which disproved the existence of Ether was absolutely incredible... Its all awesome stuff... Coupled with cool editing tricks and a salient soundtrack. Its a doc that respects its audience and honestly, its been a while since I've been so entertained/educated by a doc in sometime....

12 years ago

Brilliant and mind-boggling. Thank you.

12 years ago

@RetroRokit Agreed - fantastic documentary and so unusual not to be treated like an idiot by a television programme. Hopefully we'll see more of this type of decent science programming in future.

12 years ago

A fantastic documentary presented with clarity, knowledge and enthusiasim for the subject matter. How refreshing it is to not be talked down to. Unfortunately many science documentaries on television, in their efforts to chase ratings, assume the viewer is not only entirely ignorant of all things science but has such a limited attention span that the smallest amount of simple information needs to be repeated endlessly over the course of the program. No proper explanation of the science involved is ever satisfactorily presented because hey surely we the viewer are only interested in the postcard views, the wow factor of how fantastically 'brilliant' science is and, in the case of Brian Cox for all the female viewers out there, the contents of the presenters pants!!!!!!!!
To any program makers out there who may in the unlikely event come across this comment please note: If a person is not interested in science no amount of pretty scenery and fetching presenters is going to make you watch a science documentary. So more programs like Everything And Nothing please. People watch because they are interested and want to learn. I am sure most posters judging by some of the comments left here will agree we need more challenging television. Please give us a little more credit for being able to cope with difficult subject matter.
Many also thanks to those involved in collecting all this material together.
Ok thats the end of my rant!!!!!!!!!!!!

12 years ago

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
William Shakespeare
Macbeth, 5. 5.

Cool E Beans
12 years ago

I have finally realized that science has bent its understanding to meet the outcomes of its experiments. 'If this is true, then that must be true' without completing their experiments. I would take the duel laser experiment and finish it. Turn it 90 degrees into its third dimension with the lasers facing up and oriented along an East West meridian and check the results (the equator is the best place for this). Then rotate it 90 degrees oriented North to South. Only after those were completed could I accept their current extrapolations.

I perceive space as opposite from water. When you climb into a tub, the water is displaced away from you. However, space itself is contracted towards you, or more precicely, towards matter. The greater the mass of the matter, the greater amount of the squeezing of space. This is why one person can weigh 100 lbs and another more massive person weighs 200 lbs. The larger person is squeezing their space twice as much as the lighter person since they are both standing on the same Earth. This could also account for the unusual behavior of sub-atomic particles as they have insufficient mass to breach the tencil strength of space.

The constant rate of a falling object is therefore incorrect. Two objects of varying weight actually fall at different speeds, it is just so slight a difference it is as yet unmeasurable. Think of it this way, if you use a constant object of 100 lbs as your baseline and begin dropping other objects each at 10 times the mass of each previous object, eventually you will reach a size close to the size of the Earth itself. You then have to ask yourself, is the object falling towards the Earth, is the Earth falling towards the object or are both falling towards each other? At this scale of mass, the rate of fall would be double the current accepted speed of 32 ft/sec/sec as you would have to add the Earths fall rate and the objects fall rate.

If you place the duel laser experiment flat with respect to the plane of the surface of the Earth, the lines of space are already squeezed as much as they can be by the Earth. But as you enter the third dimension, height, this is where space becomes less squeezed by the Earth and detection of the substance of space could be found (you may have to extend the distance between the lasers to get a correct reading).

12 years ago

"The Beginning of time."
Could someone please, recommend any good docs on Time? I would like to learn more about what Time is so I can wrap head around a statement like that. I always kind of viewed "the beginning of time" as more metaphoric then actual. Perhaps with some more insight I can understand how it can have a beginning.

12 years ago

I would really like to see dark matter & energy unlocked during my lifetime.

Gary V
12 years ago

Superb, science never fails to amaze me. We are all living in a marvellous time of scientific understanding, never in the history of Humanity have we progressed so far & so fast.

12 years ago

Will go a bit deeper about the opening statements of the doc. 100 billion stars in our galaxy, 100-200 billion galaxies in known universe. But, can't stop there, our universe is but "one" of "unlimited probable universes" parallel universes, many worlds theory. String theory.

As in Feynman's, "sum over histories" Feynman demonstrated that subatomic particles traverse "infinite" paths through spacetime, implicating infinite histories for any one particle.

And then according to Julian Barbours "End of time" theory every single "Planck second" of our "now's" is a new universe, formed by our probable actions of our "now's" to give us our flow of time, one "now" after another, which time itself is an illusion.
According to Barbour, and quantum mechanics everything is "static" everything already happened, we are pulling unlimited snapshots out of our picture book of albums by our probable actions in the "now" to form the ongoing reality, giving us the illusion of flowing time and reality.

As in Heisenberg uncertainty principle, we are collapsing the waveform, just by observing, from the quantum foam with our consciousness, forming our material reality and time from energy, because everything that is, is strictly energy, there is no matter in an "Atom", only energy, it is 99.9999% empty.

Now that is truly awe inspiring!

12 years ago

WOW! BBC has done its magic once more! Thank you Vlatko :)

12 years ago

saw these a couple of weeks ago. two fantastic documentaries that go into a bit more detail than others. some interesting editing and prof. al-khalili make for a fascinating couple of hours!

12 years ago

It's official: Vlatko reads his emails ;) This was such a good doc I was compelled to share my find with TDF. Recommend to all, of course!