Wonders of the Universe
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Wonders of the Universe

Ratings: 7.96/10 from 28 users.

Wonders of the UniverseProfessor Brian Cox reveals how the most fundamental scientific principles and laws explain not only the story of the universe, but the story of us all.

Destiny. Having explored the wonders of the solar system, Professor Brian Cox steps boldly on to an even bigger stage - the universe. Who are we? Where do we come from? For thousands of years humanity has turned to religion and myth for answers to these enduring questions. But in this series, Brian presents a different set of answers - answers provided by science.

Stardust. In the second stop in his exploration of the wonders of the universe, Professor Brian Cox goes in search of humanity's very essence to answer the biggest questions of all: what are we? And where do we come from? This film is the story of matter - the stuff of which we are all made.

Falling. In the third episode, Professor Brian Cox takes on the story of the force that sculpts the entire universe - gravity. Gravity seems so familiar, and yet it is one of the strangest and most surprising forces in the universe. Starting with a zero gravity flight, Brian experiences the feeling of total weightlessness, and considers how much of an effect gravity has had on the world around us.

Messengers. In the last episode of Professor Brian Cox's epic journey across the universe, he travels from the fossils of the Burgess Shale to the sands of the oldest desert in the world to show how light holds the key to our understanding of the whole universe, including our own deepest origins.

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79 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Tom Skells

    The main speakers are related somehow to Christian schools, colleges etc. They are not recognized as scientists outside of the Christian community. The clips with Hawkings and other scientists were butchered in editing to favor the "god" side which they actually don't believe in. Hawkings is a true athetist and totally leaves god out of the real science world. The storyline by Brian Cox near top is true and based on science. BUT! It has nothing to do with this disgraceful joke of a documentary whatever it's real title is named. Brian Cox has not given permission for his storyline as all the other true scientists on some of the clips. Brian has spoke of this on one of his shows. I'm surprised this religious organization of god is not being sued. A good portion of the reviews were not based on this religious trash of a movie but one of Brian Cox's excellent documentaries. Thankfully this religious story will be blown into dust and forgotten.
    Like scientist Brian Cox said we are made of stardust and will be returned to the stars when we die. Beautiful and makes me feel at comfort till my last breath.

  2. Robert Fernandez

    love to watch all this kinds of stuff when im stoned! hell yeah!

  3. Mostafa

    thanks Brian this documentary was really wonderful for me,the great space needs great minds

  4. Keke Jones

    After everything dies and the universe is empty is there a chance that the big bang could take place again? Can the big bang take place before the end of earth? If it could what would happen? Would it create another universe? Would that be a paradox? I apologize for all the questions and excuse me if they make little to no sense but I'm 15 and intrigued by science.

    1. Serapmical Santhenar

      It seems possible to me that at the end of the universe all that may be left is a superdense black hole which could mimic the conditions in the very early universe and then trigger a second big bang. This could even have happened before.
      If at the end of the universe all matter is converted to energy, how big is the universe? Without matter, there is no scale so the universe could be both infinitely big and infinitely small?
      Just a thought, but that's half of science right there.

  5. MaLi44

    Not all stars create a nebula when they die, though there are actually two types of nebulae, those from supernovas and the planetary nebulae created by smaller stars very late in their life, during the red giant phase. It is only the large stars that go supernova upon their deaths and create the nebulae about which Professor Cox was speaking. From those nebulae are born new stars. Each of those new stars are formed from the gas and matter expelled by the parent star, so they would not be as large as that star since they are only made up from a percentage of the matter that existed within that original star. What this means is that when those stars, in turn, die, most of them will not be large enough to produce a supernova, and, therefore, will not give birth to children of their own. What this means is that there would come a time when there were no longer any stars large enough to go supernova. No more supernovas means no more star factories. So the death and birth cycle is not endless.

    This was supposed to be posted as a reply to Michael Rainey, but, for some reason, it appears that it didn't get put there.

  6. Sarah Macdonald

    /Micheal Rainey) - from my understanding yes the stars do burn out but this is over billions of yrs/ light yrs, some of them planet size or bigger when they blow up and collapse into smaller entities/ nebula - they still glow but at a smaller more dense rate compared to when they were/ are live in original state - the formation of a new star, surrounding gas and particle clouds - the amazingly colored cloud towards the last (15min of the show) is the birth of a new one - but it also takes billions of yrs to develop and doesn't develop as a big old star in the original form it takes on a more complex denser shape of gases, minerals and elements. its the original big stars that will die out and the sky we have now which is bright and wonderful - will be of smaller stars and constellations harder to see by the naked eye form earth - although there will be heaps burning bright they will be so small in comparison that from there to here it will appear and seem as though the sky is empty or filled with black holes. but as science, spirituality and q - physics states - all things are always moving fwd, the only constant is change itself - so as the universe is evolving , changing and moving fwd through time - which in space there is no time under all the light refractories - its only here on hertizon that there is time - after the big bang - which is 4th seal consciousness - Shiva -ultraviolet blue spectrum - not man or woman - big bang - 3rd - light refractory- polarity, 2nd - infrared, 1st seal consciousness - human - dense - matter occurred - therefor time - up there is no existent - all things happen simultaneously in multiple realities and dimensions. so as the universe is evolving so are we meant to be - it might be that after the earth goes through its massive change this yr and next we too will evolve and our skills abilities will evolve allowing us to see things more in detail than what we think we can now??.!!!

  7. Sarah Macdonald

    freaking brilliant - i am a student of the great work - based in yelm - wa state USA - everything we learn in school, has been this - trying to explain to friends - who aren't scientific or spiritually inclined - this show nails it on both levels and rolls into lay terms - love Quantum physics - well - done...

  8. Rohit Bhushan

    By far...one of the best documentaries i have ever seen. Absolutely Wonderful. And what a great score. Very inspiring...

  9. befitshop

    I have seen all the cosmos docs, hawkings, morgan free man, docs from the 70 's. But this one is one of my favourites. It reminds me a little like the Carl Sagans docs.... Very understandable for everyone, even my daughter of 11 is hooked to it ! thanks Brian.....

  10. Michael Rainey

    Ok I have some question's to anyone that might be able to answer...

    In part 1 Brian Cox said all the stars will eventually die and nothing will survive when all the black holes fade away. But then in Part 2 he explains that when a star dies it creates nebula that then creates more stars... and he even says that it is an endless cycle of death and rebirth.....so which is it?

    And if all the stars do die out, whats to stop humans in the far distant future from developing "spaceships" that are 100% self sufficient e.g renewable energy sources, labs to create elements etc? The atoms from all those dead stars wont just despair.

    1. dave.eggermont

      All I can say is that some stars just fade out and when more fades than what gets created, it goes extinct.

      Hope I've shed some light in there. :p

    2. Jonathan Liam Mcguire

      there are 3 ways that a star collapse and destroy itself

    3. MaLi44

      Please see my reply above, which I accidentally posted as a new comment.

    4. Justin Allen

      Even though when stars die they leave matter behind to create more stars, eventually there will be no matter left.Stars turn matter into energy.Eventually all the matter will either be converted, and photons will race across an ever increasing volume of space, or it will be sucked into a black hole,neutron star,white dwarf, and what have you.Eventually there will be nothing but degenerate matter left which slowly evaporates into nothingness.You need to understand quantum electrodynamics to get a grasp on this.Virtual particles and proton decay and the such.There will be a point when even the ultra advanced civilizations won't be able to "create more elements" because there will be no energy, and eventually no matter, that is not degenerate.There is really no such thing as renewable energy,not in the long run.Maybe one day we will learn to harness energy from gravity or create our own mini big bangs to keep us going,but even that is not endless.It is a fact that eventually the universe, and us, will die.There is but one escape, an alternate universe.Which may be impossible to reach, but maybe not.I do not know for I am but a mere mortal.The fact remains though that in the cosmological decade system, there is many hundreds of trillions of years of a future for life left.Although in the long run that is but a fleeting moment,to us it is almost infinite.A googol years from now ,when there is nothing but cold space and time has ceased because there is no way to measure it, there could be another big bang.Actually it is guaranteed there will be.And all of this will begin a new.The universe as a whole is infinite.The quantum sea of nothingness that everything arises from is infinite and ever fluctuating.But our universe as we know it. is not.Perhaps even a googol years is but a mere fraction of true deep time.Where time is truly infinite, but not in the sense we understand, anything and everything that can happen "will" happen an infinite amount of times.

    5. Robert Fernandez

      thats a nice thought dude..

    6. Alexander

      watch again but this time try to focus

  11. neonlys

    the great thing about this documentary, and what I think sets it apart from other documentaries on the universe, is the way in which Brian Cox allows himself to simply marvel at the sheer spectacle and beauty of his different topics, without any academic arrogance. He showes an outstanding ability in this sense to level with the viewer and share his fascination, without ever becoming unprofessional or trivial. Informative, well composed and fascinating, a great documentary!

    1. Alexander

      i totally agree, and there is only one narrator who actually does the same thing and that is legendary Sir David Attenborough

  12. Artur Necipuruk

    Its a bit confusing when he explains int he first movie that the stars will go off, and the universe will go dark and empty, and in the second one he speaks of an endless life cycle of stars -_-"

  13. Michael Haze

    Time isn't anything like we know. Time is not the moment of something.
    In my opinion time is the bridge from one 'frame of the universe
    to the next one(sorry for my not-perfect english), almost like a symbol in an maths equation.
    image these blocks
    I____II____III___IV____V___ ....
    1 +1 =2 +1 =3 +1 =4 +1 =5 +1 =

    then I, II, III, IV,V are the fragment of the present (which you could see as the =) and time is the +1 which makes everything happen:
    an object to move
    the 'seconds' arrow to tik
    the planets to travel

    if you stop time (take out the +1) then everything would stop waiting for the +1 to happen
    if you go back in time (make it a -1) you are traveling back in the calculation history


    V____IV____ ...
    =5 -1 =4 -1 =

    so time travel, to the future at least, is not about tricking the clock but about tricking the equation for it to do +1 around you much more often, while for you it continues at the same pace

    tryed to put it down as good as i can - what do you think about it

    1. Epicurean_Logic

      It is good that you are using symbols to capture and express your thoughts.
      Good understanding of the nature of time.
      You should tighten up your use of symbols e.g. 1+1 (does not equal) 2+1 (does not equal) ...
      It is better to use 1 (goes to = single arrow with plus one above it) 2 (goes to) 3 ...

  14. Epicurean_Logic


    Entropy increases on a global scale; that is the universe will always get 'messier' overall.

    On a local scale ordering can take place like the examples that you stated of our solar system, but overall things will always get more disorganised.

    The theory goes that for a system like our solar system to self organise it must not be closed; that is energy is entering from without.

    The matter that congeales and ignites to become our sun comes from without of the system. i.e. it is not closed at the point in time before the star ignites and matter pours in from the 'outside' universe.

    1. capriciouz

      Epi you of all people may be able to answer a question that has plagued me:

      How can we say for certain that our universe is a closed system when we cannot even observe all of it? Is it misguided to stay on the fence about this? I understand by definition that the universe should be a closed system, but I think it is obvious that just because our definition says so doesn't mean it is that way.

      What are your thoughts on this, if you would be so kind? Thanks in advance.

    2. Epicurean_Logic

      Yikes capriciouz, that's a tough one! I just knew that someone was going to ask a difficult physics question…

      Let me first say that there are many questions in physics that plague me and answering one question inevitably opens the door to an array of further equally baffling questions and that’s the nature of science.

      But as the saying goes, 'the proof is in the pudding' , it works and real practical benefits come from it, so we accept it. The pieces of the puzzle fit together and useful predictions are made that align with physical reality, so we use it... With that in mind we can tentatively proceed.

      "How can we say for certain that our universe is a closed system when we cannot even observe all of it?"

      The truth of the matter is that we cant say for certain. Answering the 'how do we know that…?' type questions in physics always boil down to two answers, 1. because measurable evidence backs up the assertion and, 2. because the assertion fits neatly into the bigger picture of what is already known. That’s it in a nutshell.

      Now, lets assume that the universe is closed, a useful simplifying modelling assumption. Then if the model's results don't fit the observable it can be tweaked by allowing matter/energy to flow in and then checked against the observable. This process continues until the model accurately predicts what is seen. I guess that this approach has already been used as it is quite common practice to start off with a simple model and then add more complicated features as and when they are needed. This suggests that a closed universe matches the observable more accurately than an open universe.

      "Is it misguided to stay on the fence about this?"

      I don’t think so. The whole point of the game is to convince oneself of the validity of any given idea, only then can one slot the piece of knowledge into the cosmic jigsaw with confidence. Any niggling doubt suggests that either some piece of information is missing; that there is some serious flaw in what is being presented or that the answer is just too far ahead of what is currently knowable.

      It is quite normal to have huge difficulty in accepting physical theories and this is good in the sense that it generates deep thought that can enrich a concept . On the other hand more interesting results can be generated by accepting many previously demonstrated results and creatively combining multiple ideas. A little bit of this and a little bit of that...

      So basically, there is no basically, just facts that match the observable to a higher and lower degree of accuracy.

    3. capriciouz

      Thank you for the very thorough reply, Epi. It was very enlightening.

  15. April Hillyer

    I love this guys voice its very soothing. It's great to watch right before bed.

  16. Guest

    Apparently my confusion about entropy moving in one direction stems from the definition of entropy Cox gave in part one of this doc. He said that entropy was a measure of how many ways you could rearrange the parts of a whole and not change the whole, this is not exactly true. Entropy is the measure of usable energy in a closed system. The more usable energy you have the lower the state of entropy. Of course as time progresses everything cools and motion begins to slow and entropy increases as energy decreases. That makes perfect intuitive sense, he should have said that. Not that what he said was not true, just that it was somewhat misleading.

  17. kirastianity

    That was wonderful. Our universe is certainly magnificient. But I like to focus my attention on Earth, which is the planet where I live now and where I will die someday, according to the universe.

    1. Guest

      Thats the whole point of studying the universe, to better understand the planet we live on and the processes that created and continue to sustain both it and us.

  18. Guest

    They say in episode one that entropy is a constant and has always been. In other words we have been moving from order to chaos every since the universe came to be. But this couldn't have always been the case. It would seem to me that in the beginning it had to move from a less organized state to a more organized state, gas assembling into stars, dust and debris forming planets and whole solar systems, etc. I understand that once these stars and planets are created they immediately begin to decay back into their constituent parts, just as we begin to age and decay the second we are born. But for those stars and planets to form their constituent parts had to self assemble according to the laws of physics, is this not reverse entropy? Is this not the equivalent of the desert wind building a sand castle?
    Now he did state that that very thing was possible, that no law in physics says the wind could not build a sand castle, only that it is very very unlikely. So does that statement not say that entropy does not always move in only one direction, that it is only much more likely that it will? If this is the case then entropy is not a constant, only the most likely outcome. In fact we can point to specific examples of entropy moving from a higher to a lower state, a solar system forming around a star would be a good example. Then again that same solar system will eventually decay back into that from whence it came, and this is entropy moving from a lower to a higher state. I suppose it strikes a balance in the end, each time it moves from a higher to a lower state it will eventually do just the opposite and undo what has been. Maybe that is the real constant, balance- For every action an equal and opposite reaction.
    Anyway, Just a thought. This is a great series; I highly recommend it for anyone interested in cosmology or physics.

  19. donnycutter19

    the final thought on episode 1 made me cry...my soul understood how amazing this experience was

    1. Beerwulf

      Don't even.. Carl Sagan is a legend and made people interested in science and space just by his demeanor and his charm.

      This guy put me to sleep, I don't care what he wants in his garden!!

      oops: wrong person to quote.. meant the hhO under me :D

  20. hh0

    This guy is the new and I must say better than Carl S. it is more than a doc its art.

    1. JustMe___1

      Well, I wouldn't say "better", but he can pretty much be the new Sagan, at ep.2 I was thinking exactly about that. At first I said "He might be copying Sagan a bit", but 2nd thought was "So what even if he does? It's amazing and should be encouraged!"
      It's art, indeed.

    2. hh0

      yeah not better but a damn good sub I miss carl.

  21. Taras Moskvichov

    I like him alot, but lets be honest, only a brit can walk through the desert with a jacket and sweater underneath it.

  22. Jeremy Heil

    epic doc!

  23. dallasAlice

    brian cox is a hot motherf*cker. what a dreamboat. nerds rule.

  24. Fecioru Florin

    If you're looking for religion, try science.

  25. leonardobdas

    He was able to catch my attention a bit better when he was not trying to pose like a master teacher... which he is not for the virtue of his youth. I rather prefer his shows that he is a bit more human and talks with you instead of telling you some truth with a funny voice.

    My brain goes straight to david attenborough and other older figures and goes... this is a knock off! then I remember that not too long ago he was on a glam rock band...

    Perhaps it is because all his shows have a similar formula and it is getting boring to me. perhaps it is the high cheek bones that makes him look like he is smiling all the time... haha

  26. John Christopher McDonald

    Thanks for sharing this! Excellent Documentary

  27. Fareth Didwell

    I like this guy.. He has passion about the discipline he knows and hes studied all of his life! Hope he one day becomes a new Carl Sagan like figure.

    1. Al

      Actually, he used to be a keyboard player in the early 90s hehe =)

    2. Ramus73

      For some reason I can't put my finger on I don't like him. Maybe I'm getting long in the tooth and expect my physicists to be white haired, bespecktackled and socially inept.

  28. Gary V

    Nice 1 prof Cox, I can't wait until next year for "Wonders of life" to be on TV. Superb.

  29. TheSatyaYuga

    I preferred Wonders of the Solar System but this was still extremely enjoyable, especially in HD. The series does well to explain the major theories in an accessible manner.

  30. Guest

    Great doc saw it before, don't mind watching again.

  31. Top_Quark

    BBC documentaries are the best! this is another good one. Loved Ep2 'Stardust'. Indeed, we are all made of stars as Carl Sagan used to say.

  32. Al

    Brian Cox is always a decent presenter =)

  33. Bogdan

    thx vlatko! u the man

  34. Gary V

    Wow! Isn't Science amazing. We are all living in a time of amazing Scientific discovery & we are progressing faster & further than at any other time in Humanity. Just think how much further & faster we could progress if all the hundreds of millions of £'s that we waste on religion to perpetuate outdated ancient myths was used to advance our Scientific knowledge for the benefit of all of Humanity.

    1. Guest

      True, wonder what the religee's have to say about us only being here as long as approx. 0.1-100 googleplex-googleplex-googleplex to the life span of the universe!! Did not have much time for any of their gods to make anything.

    2. Jack1952

      Thank God I was created smart enough to know that God didn't create me.

  35. Guest

    Just finished watching part 1, beautiful cinematography, nice easter present, beats chocolat!
    Cute smart cookie too!

    We needed to be able to see to come up with understanding our universe, and from what we saw we shaped our reality. Is this it? What if we didn't have eyes?
    Could it be that we got it all or will the yet unexisting civilization come up with a different comprehension?

    On to the next....

    1. Al

      Second that

    2. Lary9

      replying to Azilda~

      There aren't any disc brakes on Evolution's processes. So whether H. sapiens will find some new speciating adaptation depends upon the environmental pressures of natural selection and perhaps "unnatural" natural selection too. We may wind up adapting in the future (over many, many generations) to the profound geophysical changes that we have self-generated as a species. Ironically, it has only taken a few centuries of fossil fuel dependency and its corresponding population hyper-growth to create these pressures.

  36. 0zyxcba1

    I saw Eternity the other night,
    Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
    All calm, as it was bright;
    And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
    Driv'n by the spheres
    Like a vast shadow mov'd; in which the world
    And all her train were hurl'd.

    ~ fragment from THE WORLD
    by Welsh metaphysical poet,
    Henry Vaughan (1622-1695)

  37. Sieben Stern

    He talks about such mind blowing, terrifying things... in such a lovely voice. I'm simultaneously scared and soothed.

    1. Rahmatullah Vellore

      Brian Cox should read the Koran at least once to know what it says about what science and this documentary is so concerned about. I am not trying to sell Islam but just wish that with the level of his knowledge about this cosmos he could gain an insight into this universe and its laws. The Koran is a book for the people of knowledge like Brian Cox, not for the ignorant.

    2. Epicurus

      the Koran is a terrible place to find scientific information. it is wrong so many times.

    3. Sieben Stern

      I hope he never does. I hope he keeps his lovely eyes on the skies and the wonders of nature instead of dusty old books written by dusty old men, thousands of years ago to control others.

      the koran and the bible and the torah have nothing useful in them, let alone about nature or science. they are books that should return to the dust they came from, not pollute the minds of intelligent, beautiful people like Brian cox.

      there is so much more to this universe that has been written in your holy book.

    4. manohar sullad

      OK now i can't stop commenting about religion, there is simply so so much invoking of religion in science.
      How about Hinduism. well it is the only one religion that says Universe goes into an infinite cycle of Creation(Big Bang) and Destruction(Big Crunch). See Hindu Cosmology for more info. Even though the Big Crunch is not a much supported theory , but before Hubble's discovery and Dark Energy causing acceleration expansion it still was the best theory available.
      Something to think about the oldest religion on Earth.

    5. Top_Quark

      Science is based on facts validated by experiment and religion is based on ancient mythologies. The Koran & Rig Veda are not books of science, they may contain passages that might suggest a cycle of creation and destruction but it's all symbolic. If you go into their details then there are many more contradictions with science & cosmology than things in common with science.

    6. Epicurus

      @manohar sullad

      actually science doesnt say the universe will collapse in a big crunch that is a very outdated view of cosmology. the recent data shows that it will keep on expanding until everything is so far apart it cant produce any more heat energy and will die in what is now deemed "the big freeze"

      but you are right, there is lots of wisdom found in hinduism, buddhism, and jainism.....A LOT more than in the judeo-christian religions.