Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wonders of the Universe on Science Channel

I tuned into for the first time today a broadcast of the Science Channel "Wonders of the Universe with Brian Cox". I found it a very entertaining view of Science. Unfortunately, I tuned in for the first time the last few minutes of the program. However, my wife said, "Oh. I love the way this guy shares about science. He is the one of the sexiest guys who does this kind of program. However, when I looked for the next program it was over 2 weeks or more away so I was kind of disappointed. But when I looked at Amazon Prime, past episodes were available to stream for $2.99 if you are interested. So my family agreed if we all were in the mood to start watching these from the beginning we might all sit down and watch one of these together on our large flatscreen in HD.

By the way if you join Amazon Prime for about 80 dollars a year you also get free shipping for anything you buy from    So, this is quite a saving when you consider no state sales tax and no shipping costs. When my son built a desktop computer for a friend of my wife's for Christmas this year he saved $300 in shipping and sales tax because of this. The price of building a desktop for a friend custom built to a level where you could not buy one already built like this anywhere was $700 through

However, I like also to be able to stream Netflix too. 


Wonders of the Universe

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Wonders of the Universe
Genre Documentary series
Presented by Professor Brian Cox
Theme music composer Sheridan Tongue
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 4
Executive producer(s) Jonathan Renouf
Running time 59 minutes
Original channel BBC 2
Picture format SD: 576i 16:9
HD: 1080i 
Audio format SD: Stereo
HD: Dolby Digital 5.1
Original run 6 March 2011 – 27 March 2011
Preceded by Wonders of the Solar System (2010)
Followed by Wonders of Life (2012)[citation needed]
External links
Wonders of the Universe is a 2011 television series produced by the BBC, Discovery Channel, and Science Channel, hosted by physicist Professor Brian Cox. Wonders of the Universe was first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC 2 from 6 March 2011. The series comprises four episodes, each of which focuses on an aspect of the universe and features a 'wonder' relevant to the theme. It follows on from Cox's 2010 series for the BBC, Wonders of the Solar System.



[edit] Episodes

Why are we here? Where do we come from? These are the most enduring of questions. And it's an essential part of human nature to want to find the answers. We can trace our ancestry back hundreds of thousands of years to the dawn of humankind. But in reality, our story extends far, further back in time. Our story starts with the beginning of the universe. It began 13.7 billion years ago, and today, it's filled with over a hundred billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of billions of stars.
In this series, I want to tell that story, because ultimately, we are part of the universe, so its story is our story.
—Professor Brian Cox's opening narration

[edit] 1. "Destiny"

In the first episode, Cox considers the nature of time. He explores the cycles of time that define the lives of humans on the earth, and compares them to the cycles of time on a cosmic scale. Cox also discusses the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and its effect on time, and the Heat Death theory concerning the end of the universe. The US broadcast was originally aired on August 3, 2011, and was titled "Cosmos Made Conscious."

[edit] 2. "Stardust"

In this episode, Cox discusses the elements of which all living things, including humans, are made. He explores the beginnings of the universe and the origins of humanity, going far back in time to look at the process of stellar evolution. He explains how these basic elements are related to the life cycles of the stars and the recycling of matter in the Universe, touching down in Katmandu and Rio de Janeiro. The US broadcast was originally aired on July 27, 2011, and was titled "Children of the Stars."

[edit] 3. "Falling"

This episode documents how gravity has an effect across the Universe, and how the relatively weak force creates an orbit. We also see how a neutron star's gravity works. Finally, there is a look back at how research on gravity has enabled us to better understand the cosmos. The US broadcast was originally aired on August 10, 2011 and was titled "The Known and the Unknown."

[edit] 4. "Messengers"

The final episode shows how the unique properties of light provide an insight into the origins and development of mankind and the Universe. Cox demonstrates how the speed of light permits scientists to measure distance and time with a trip in a fighter jet that they use to break the sound barrier. The US broadcast originally aired on August 17, 2011 and was titled "On Beams of Light."

The four episodes were repeated as part of the BBC Learning Zone (intended for use in Secondary Schools) in an early morning slot (5.00 - 6.00 am) on Wednesdays from the end of September 2011 on BBC 2. Each one-hour programme carried a sub-title ("Learning Shorts") and was segmented into 3 continuous short films (of approximately 20 minutes' duration) with separate titles, making 12 in total. The original episode titles were not used.
  1. Time & Entropy
  2. Discovering the Speed of Light
  3. Why are Black Holes Invisible?

[edit] Reception

The initial episode gained viewing figures of 6 million people when it was first shown on the BBC, and it was the first BBC factual show to top the iTunes chart.[1]
The series received generally positive reviews. Chris Harvey of the Daily Telegraph said "Cox is different. Scientists who can capture the popular imagination come along extremely rarely ... These days, science programmes regularly provide some of the most striking images ever seen on the small screen",[2] and Tom Sutcliffe of The Independent commented "it's big on cosmic dazzlement and mind-boggling perspectives and full of epic orchestration and screen-saver graphics."[3] Sam Wollaston of The Guardian chose to focus on Cox's presenting style rather than the scientific content of the programme.[4]

[edit] Sound complaints

Following complaints from viewers that the background music was loud enough to make Cox's narration difficult to hear, the BBC agreed to remix the sound for all the episodes.[5] Cox thought this was a mistake, as he believed the series should be a "cinematic experience".[6]
The DVD and Blu-Ray versions are released with the original sound mix as opposed to the broadcast versions.

[edit] Merchandise

The Region 2 DVD and Blu-ray discs were released on 4 April 2011.[7][8]
The Region 1 DVD and Blu-ray discs were released on 30 August 2011.[9]
The Region 4 DVD and Blu-ray discs were released on 1 September 2011.[10][11]
The accompanying hardcover book was released on 3 March 2011: Cox, Brian (2011). Wonders of the Universe. Harper Collins. ISBN 9780007395828.[12]
A soundtrack album of music composed for Wonders of the Universe by Sheridan Tongue (including selected music from Wonders of the Solar System) was released to coincide with the first airing of the show on BBC 2.

[edit] International broadcast

  • In the United States, this programme was aired by Science each Wednesday at 9pm E/P from 27 July 2011.[13] The episodes were renamed and were not shown in order, instead broadcasting episode 2, 1, then 3 and 4.[14]
  • In Australia, this programme was aired by ABC1 each Tuesday at 8:30pm from 19 July 2011.[15]
  • In New Zealand, this programme was aired by TVNZ 7 each Saturday at 7:05pm from 6 August 2011.[16]
  • In Denmark, this programme was aired by DR2 every night at 7pm from 2 January - 5 January 2012, retitled as, Universets gåder (Mysteries of the Universe).[17]
  • In India it was aired from March 7 to March 28 on BBC Entertainment on Wednesdays at 9 PM.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Jeffries, Stewart (24 March 2011). "Brian Cox: 'Physics is better than rock'n'roll'". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  2. ^ Harvey, Chris (7 March 2011). "Wonders of the Universe, BBC Two, review". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  3. ^ Sutcliffe, Tom (7 March 2011). "The Weekend's TV: Wonders of the Universe, Sun, BBC2 Civilization: Is the West History? Sun, Channel 4". The Independent (London). Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  4. ^ Wollaston, Sam (6 March 2011). "TV review: Wonders of the Universe, Civilization: Is the West History?, South Riding". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  5. ^ Singh, Anita (14 March 2011). "BBC turns down the volume on Professor Brian Cox programme after viewer complaints". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Brian Cox says BBC is wrong over show music". BBC News (BBC). 14 March 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  7. ^ "BBC Shop: Wonders of the Universe DVD". BBC Shop Online. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  8. ^ "BBC Shop: Wonders of the Universe Blu-ray". BBC Shop Online. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  9. ^ Lambert, David (20 April 2011). "Wonders of the Universe - The New 4-Part Documentary from BBC/Discovery is Coming to DVD and Blu-ray". Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  10. ^ "ABC Shop: Wonders of the Universe DVD". ABC Shop Online. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  11. ^ "ABC Shop: Wonders of the Universe Blu-ray". ABC Shop Online. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  12. ^ "BBC Shop: Wonders of the Universe Book". BBC Shop Online. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  13. ^ "Science Channel Announces WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE - Premieres July 27 at 9:00PM (ET/PT)". Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  14. ^ "Science Episode Guide: Wonders of the Universe". Science Online. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
  15. ^ "ABC1 Programming Airdate: Wonders of the Universe (episode one)". ABC Television Publicity. Retrieved 2011-07-12.
  16. ^ "Coming up in August on TVNZ 7: Spotlight on Science and Innovation". TVNZ. Retrieved 2011-08-14.
  17. ^ "DR2: Universets gåder 1-4". Danmarks Radio. Retrieved 17 January 2012.

[edit] External links

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