The pigeon, the antenna and me

3 minutes

How pigeon droppings nearly derailed a massive discovery in cosmology

Great cosmology research requires accounting for an enormous number of variables, everything from nuclear detonations to bird droppings. In this animation from Nature, the American radio astronomer Robert Wilson discusses how a pair of pigeons living in a large antenna frustrated attempts to measure the minimum brightness of the sky. Even once the pigeons were removed, the measurements still weren’t right. The issue, it turned out, was cosmic microwave background radiation left behind by the Big Bang – a discovery that would eventually earn Wilson part of the 1978 Nobel Prize in physics.

Video by Dog & Rabbit

Video/Anthropology

How footprints trapped in time unlocked a mystery of early hominids

8 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Ethics

If soldiers act with unjust aggression they are as culpable as civilian criminals

6 minutes

Video/Mathematics

A brilliant ‘geometric ballet’ of sound, shape and symmetry on the theme of 180°

5 minutes

Video/Human Evolution

Why do fear, cold and sublime feelings all provoke the same response in our skin?

3 minutes

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Idea/Cosmology

Our Universe is too vast for even the most imaginative sci-fi

Michael Strauss

Essay/Mathematics

How to play mathematics

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Margaret Wertheim

Video/Astronomy

The plodding photon, or how the speed of light looks sluggish on a galactic scale

45 minutes

Essay/Physics

This granular life

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Carlo Rovelli

Idea/History of Science

The missing fossils matter as much as the ones we have found

Adrian Currie & Derek Turner