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What is One Degree?

2010 ,    »  -   49 Comments
Ratings: 5.00/10 from 6 users.

What is One Degree?Comedian Ben Miller returns to his roots as a physicist to try to answer a deceptively simple question: what is one degree of temperature?

His quest takes him to the frontiers of current science as he meets researchers working on the hottest and coldest temperatures in the universe, and to a lab where he experiences some of the strangest effects of quantum physics - a place where super-cooled liquids simply pass through solid glass.

Ben installs his very own Met office weather station at home and his investigations in this personal and passionate film highlight the importance of measurement and accuracy in the 21st century.

Overall this programme will communicate a positive sense about science, and about the importance of temperature measurement.

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49 Comments / User Reviews

    Achems Razor
  1. Achems Razor

    Great doc. loved it!

  2. Mike
  3. Mike

    I enjoyed this. The experiment with the liquid going through glass was amazing.

  4. eugler
  5. eugler

    We all learned in highschool that heat is essentially Brown's Molecular Motion. Took them half an hour of blabla to come to a 7th grade insight in physics. The only interesting thing were the alltogether maybe 5 minutes about superfluids and the fusion reactor (although the only thing they talk about here is its operating temperature). The rest was simply boring and painfully killing minutes to get a 1 hour documentary. The global warming alarmism in the end doesn't help either so I skipped the last 10 minutes.

  6. Malaguti (Brazil)
  7. Malaguti (Brazil)

    Too simplistic, for dumies..

  8. Totoeskhoo
  9. Totoeskhoo

    I agree with eugler. This Ben Miller seems to me like hi flunked most of college rather than being a physicist. I thought this doc resembles the same "quest/answer seeking" doc as "How long is a piece of string" but at least in that one, the protagonist didn't boast about being physicist or mathematician.

  10. bornin62honest
  11. bornin62honest

    Pretty cool...

  12. Lars
  13. Lars

    "Absolute Zero" is in my opinion a far more interesting documentary that doesn't suggest putting stuff in your rectum, as this guy goes about. I just get awkward watching this. I realize the target audience is different for the different films, so maybe this is something for you, maybe not. If you can't stand this guy, I can recommend "Absolute Zero".

  14. lele
  15. lele

    So is he a comedian? Why ain't I laughing?

  16. Frank Shifreen
  17. Frank Shifreen

    Nice documentary. I like these kind of wide ranging questions that are brought into different fields, history, research, practice, physics, meteorology. I had not encountered Ben Miller before, but he had a nice self-deprecating easy manner- also intelligent. I liked it. Thanks Vlatko

  18. David N
  19. David N

    ...oh my God, all you guys need to get off your wanna be intellectual high horse. Your condescending tone makes so many of us want to gag.

    "Absolute Zero" is definitely a better documentary. If you like "How long is a piece of string?" then you'll like this one too.

    Thanks Vlatko!

  20. caligula
  21. caligula

    I agree with eugler, this is mainly a good-too long-tutorial about temperature for a HS audience…also agree that the guy, with a PhD in physics, sometimes looks clueless…

  22. caligula
  23. caligula

    In fact, he looks like a guy that did all kinds of drugs known to man & forgot everything he ever knew…& now after recovery, he’s trying to make a living…

  24. Yanek
  25. Yanek

    This was a great insight. To the ignorant and idiotic posts before me(I'm sure you can tell which ones), this was about the grasp of what a degree really is. It's easy to explain it in simple terms(like teachers' do in "7th" grade) what a degree is. But to actually see temperature in action and seeing things in real-time gives you(most persons, unless you are the pointless posts before me) a sense of what temperature measurment is and what makes it possible.

    Thank you for the film.

  26. Gaz
  27. Gaz

    this documentry is fantastic, thanks for the upload and this website. XD

  28. Achems Razor
  29. Achems Razor

    To all you armchair pseudo-intellectuals, give the guy the benefit of the doubt, he is smarter then he looks.

    What Earth-shattering jaw dropping scientific accomplishments have you done lately, besides your populated prose, preponderantly by parading precipitous ostracism?

  30. Casey
  31. Casey

    Good one. The first real insight only came 30 minutes in ... but then on it quite Rocked my World ... onto 'absolute zero' now ... thanks si.

  32. yuneiv
  33. yuneiv

    what is one film

  34. AWw
  35. AWw

    Absolute zero...way way way better than this...
    chk that out guys..
    this 1 is a waste of time...

  36. yuneiv
  37. yuneiv

    i like films about space, planets, probes... can you add a new item in categories for that. "Science" is now big. and maybe easier to check for new films. if not many people like that, you can keep this way. thank you.

  38. eugler
  39. eugler

    Quite some hostile reactions to some simple critique about a documentary. Temperature is an interessting topic with many mind boggling implications. The quality of a documentary nevertheless depends on how much effort you are willing to put into it and there clearly wasn't much motivation for this one. It is simply annoying when someone who did a Physics PhD in Cambridge acts as if he didn't pass 7th grade (to stay with my initial claim) just to camouflage the lack of material he collected for a one hour doc by pretending that every little detail about the topic is a freaking breakthrough to him.

    @Yanek & @Achems

    No need to get personal just because some people disagree with you on the quality of a doc. If you disagree and have the time and motivation go ahead and make your argument. But ad hominem attacks won't help it, they just reflect the self-rigthoussness you are accusing others of upon yourselves.

  40. polar jo McKay
  41. polar jo McKay

    Great Vlatko, thank you. I liked it :) @ eugler, your 'very' "simple critique" was and is Hostile and personal (why not just be honest & admit you don't agree with science on climate change?). I agree absolutely w achems & yanek. Living in Northern Canada, trust me that the world 'mean' of 1 degree warmer makes a 'freaking' huge difference up here!

  42. Rich.
  43. Rich.

    Awesome, but I thought the dumb host has a PhD? He acts like a moron. Oh wait, it was a PhD in acting?

  44. Yanek
  45. Yanek

    Indeed :p must be the late nights.

  46. Psinet
  47. Psinet

    Cheers for the sane statements made in reference to this documentary's quality. I will steer clear I think.

  48. Bogdan
  49. Bogdan

    I don't think this guy has Phd because he doesn't know what is temperature...I knew what temperature was...I want my Phd:))

  50. Jeremiah Kalleck
  51. Jeremiah Kalleck

    This was an interesting film. I don't understand the weird reviews here. He doesn't claim to have a PHD... actually he says multiple times that he does NOT have one.

    Worth watching. You will learn at least a bit. I gained a little and now have some more ways to communicate some of the ideas presented here.

  52. Arnold Vinette
  53. Arnold Vinette

    There is a fundamental flaw in this program at 42:57 minutes and this is also a major fundamental flaw in physics. This is with regards to the universe going from an organized state to a disorganized state. This law of physics states that the universe will always go from an organized state to a disorganized state. This law of physics is wrong. And it has been wrong since its inception. How can I say this with absolute fact? You are reading this statement. 1. Human beings and all life on earth grow from an unorganized state to a complex life form. This happens every day. 2. Buildings and all other structures on earth go from a disorganized state to an organized state. 3. The earth warms from winter to spring to summer on a yearly basis.

    If this law was correct, you would not exist to read this note, my computer would not exist, the building I live in would not exist, and this planet would not exist. Yet everything does exist and it has evolved to a higher energy form. Therefore the physics law is wrong.

    Arnold Vinette
    Ottawa, Canada

  54. beyondmystery
  55. beyondmystery

    hhmm... your statement that inadvertently pushes "laws" or "facts" of YOUR perception onto other people that cant live in their own world, is IN MY OPINION, a way of thought n communication that has a big part in holding back human perception..
    WITHOUT SOUNDING LIKE IM AN ARSEHOLE, i personally disagree with your statement because everything you note as examples is a individual perception and way of thought that varies among humans..
    THROUGH MY EYES, what your so strongly defining as "fact" is only a fact in your mind because you've let your thoughts be confined by these rules.. I see your statement as a way of life FOR YOU, n a lot of other people.. it's like the personality experiment of seeing a glass of water as half full or half empty, and the observation of the glass of water could possibly determine an optimistic personality or a pesimistic personality.. n that itself is perception n varies by perceiver, but it's something you may understand as an example..

    ANYWAY, my point or question is how can something be a fact when there is people like me that understand things like physics very differently than others??
    IN MY MIND, there is no difference between organized and unorganized, because my understanding of the world is that which lets that decision up to each indivudual person...
    as i was reading your post i couldnt understand how people can be so certain of something and present it as an undeniable characteristic of the universe, when there are an infinite amount of variations of perception of the things you n many others consider fact..

    im not sure if i've been clear enough in my opinion, so ill go a little further into this..
    YOUR 1ST EXAMPLE states that all life goes from unorganized state to a complex lifeform... with that said, would you agree that even the most basic of life forms could be considered complex, considering that humans are using multi-billion dollar equipment like the Hadron Collider to try n understand these things you consider "basic" n "unorganized"?? i would guess that there is scientists in that field of study would say that "science has no clue about the complexities of dark matter and because their huge brains cant comprehend dark matter, it must be complex and complex could be perceived as organized.. N i would also guess that there is scientists that just accept that dark matter exists, but is considered unorganized because for some reason they may think that dark matter must be a single piece in a puzzle box, and since the puzzle is not complete in their mind, it must be unorganized...
    since im not sure that was the best example i'll present my thoughts on the another one of you examples that may be easier for me to explain.. you state that --"The earth warms from winter to spring to summer on a yearly basis"-- question to you is how you came to the conclusion that the earth starts in winter?, and why would winter be seen a unorganized?? AND THE SAME WITH SUMMER.. if im not mistaken, this example rests on the thought that winter was the first EVER season on earth, and winter is disorganized.. but by simply thinking outside of your country or state or whatever, you would realize that it may be winter in one country, but it's hot as hell and crops n life thriving just across the planet.. with that said, i dont think you could confidently make a statement like that because your because you have no clue if winter is the disorganization of earth.. it is crucial for this planet to keep going in elipses..
    so ya... all i ask is that you consider other peoples perceptions before you present opinions as fact.. heres a good example.. IM COLOR BLIND, N THE COLOR THAT I SEE AS BLUE, YOU WOULD SEE AS PURPLE.. SO WHO IS RIGHT N WRONG?? WELL, NEITHER OF US ARE RIGHT, AND BOTH OF US ARE RIGHT DEPENDING ON THE PERCEPTUAL CONTEXT OF THE QUESTION...
    n one more thing... if you know anything about physics you should know that theres quantum physics and the more studies into quantum physics are showing that a lot of things people considered fact are far from it...


    have a nice day.. or night... depending on where you live n how you perceive the dark n light

  56. quark22
  57. quark22

    yes, we grow to complex life forms and following the laws of entropy we die and rot, buildings left vacant over time will decay...and what follows summer? ...yes, autumn and then winter, and without casting a depressing gloom over your day this planet won't exist..for every rise there is a fall...entropy always has its day..

  58. Billy Xian
  59. Billy Xian

    Even quantum physicists would not disagree with the law of entropy. Try and actually understand what the law actually says before you even say anything about the perception of the law. It is unmistakable, no matter how you "perceive" it.

  60. Karenwasherefirst
  61. Karenwasherefirst

    An interesting phenomenon that was mentioned was the bit about water being in 3 states simultaneously and that this is at a fixed integer. Sadly the temperature designation was not mentioned. Recently, I watched a program that talked about how pure water will not freeze unless particles are introduced to it to bind/bond to. In this particular program it was thought that this was the cause of an airplane freezing up and crashing.

  62. memoiandi
  63. memoiandi

    Arnold.... Could you please just shut up?... I've seen your posts before and they just don't make sense.... Is it possible, just possible that you don't know what you are talking about?

  64. eugler
  65. eugler

    What a tragedy, you alone realised that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is bogus and they didn't even give you the Nobel Price. Instead, you have to post your insights here, really really tragic. Maybe there is another possibility that we all have to face more often than not: You don't get it which of course doesn't mean it doesn't work. Yet in this case, simply ask instead of making ridiculous statements like the one above. There are enough people here who will try to explain things to each other, I have benefited more than once from this fact so lets see whether I'm able to give something back.

    The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states that in any closed system the rate of entropy will increase. Neither people nor buildings represent a closed system, not by a long shot. Organisms like us arise out of the chaos not just like that but by increasing the entropy around us to organise our biological systems. In other words you have to eat to live. The process of harvesting energy from our food not only gives us the energy to "organise" our bodys but also increases the entropy of a much larger (closed ?) system called the universe and it does so by reducing "our" entropy for the cost of much more entropy on a different scale. The main mechanism for this is simple, we produce heat which represents the energy we applied to "organise" (and which according to the 1st law can neither be created nor destroyed). And so do the bulldozers and cranes and people that build skyscrapers but the "decrease" in entropy which results in an organised local struture is paid by a much larger increase in the whole system.

    The summer/winter example is so ridiculous that it actually doesn't deserve an explanation. If you want to experience the 2nd law on a more intuitve level, just fart and see how long it takes you to smell it - entropy at work.

  66. Epicurus
  67. Epicurus

    actually Arnold the physics law you are referring to is entropy and it is the second law of thermodynamics.

    now to keep it as simple as possible im going to simply point out that every example you used there will eventually break back down. it requires energy to create those and energy is being used constantly to hold things together...but eventually everything breaks back down. and it can only go for so long before all the energy leaves the particular system.

  68. Charles Overy
  69. Charles Overy

    However, Epicurus, energy can niether be created nor destroyed.

  70. Charles Overy
  71. Charles Overy

    LMAO well said!

  72. Teamtigerpaw
  73. Teamtigerpaw

    Great Doc.

  74. Anthony Pirtle
  75. Anthony Pirtle

    What you forget about the second law of thermodynamics, mate, is that it works in a closed system. Parts of the system only become more organized at the expense of the system as a whole. The earth is not a closed system. It is part of the solar system which is part of the galaxy which is part of the universe. The universe began in a state of almost infinitely greater organization than exists today. It will end in a completely disorganized state. The movement from one to the other has been unimpeded by your building and people.

  76. mahonhouse
  77. mahonhouse

    Made me wonder why Intelligent design theory was not thought of the second we realized we were all the same precise temperature.

  78. Lee Walker
  79. Lee Walker

    why do science documentaries on here always attract the god botherers.

    So called 'inteligent design' is simply creationism re-branded.

  80. sanjeeva
  81. sanjeeva

    If everything is cooling down( coffee cools down, lava cools down). So why is the earth temperature going up? The whole cosmos is driven by disorder, so why is there any global warming at all. Does that mean that we are going to go back again to the ice age?

  82. Tyler Harland
  83. Tyler Harland

    Everything cools, when left to it's own devices. So you're right; the Earth's temperature shouldn't be going up.

    ...But what you're forgetting is the huge ball of fire in the sky that is warming us up (actually caused by the sun, itself, cooling - like everything else) and an atmosphere that's fairly good at holding on to that temperature. If the sun stopped acting on earth, earth's temperature would cool down slightly faster than it does at night. So to sum up, the Earth is cooling - but it's also constantly being heated but the sun, and as our atmosphere gets better at holding on to the heat that's added by the sun, i.e. more greenhouse gasses, the Earth's temperature goes up

  84. Bob
  85. Bob

    not bad, some interesting stuff but not what i was hoping. but i have found out that i dont like ben miller much

  86. Hyestack
  87. Hyestack

    A physicist and comedian means he was never good at either at them.

  88. Taylor Lynch
  89. Taylor Lynch

    Hey Arnold! What about atoms and molecules aren't those organized with a single thing in mind energy which all matter is made from.

  90. Kat_Haus
  91. Kat_Haus

    Rubbish. The host fails in every imaginable way. He was amazed at discovering the concept of "entropy" (its name dare not be spoken for fear the common folk wist not its meaning), struggled to grasp basic concepts of physics (let alone the lofty aims of his failed doctoral dissertation), and was unable to describe the concept of "average" or "mean" accurately.

    As a presumed advocate of global warming "theory", he is taken aback at the work of entropy on a universal level (but failed to see the paradox within). He seems to have such a lack of rudimentary knowledge in the field of physics that the "Ph.D." system of the U.K. should be seriously scrutinized.

    This is a nearly unwatchable heap of trash. Nothing here to be learned that a primary school student couldn't teach you in twenty minutes.

  92. Bernardo
  93. Bernardo

    Epicurus said it requiers energy to built or creat complex structures, he never spoke of creating energy per se

  94. Thomas Fowler
  95. Thomas Fowler

    why don't you make a documentary then if your so intelligent instead of rambling on to nobody on the internet?

  96. Kat_Haus
  97. Kat_Haus

    Sorry, Tom. I am not a documentarian. If I am rambling on to nobody,
    then what does that make you? I made that comment while drunk, but at
    least I could use punctuation and grammar properly. Check yourself,

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