Directed by Charles and Ray Eames, the legendary husband-and-wife filmmaking and design team, the classic short Powers of Ten (1977) invited viewers to contemplate the edges of our understanding of reality. Starting from a picnic blanket in a Chicago park, that film took viewers on a journey that stretched to the scale of 100 million light years away, and then back down to a single proton. Narrated by the BBC TV presenter Brian Cox – a professor of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester – this new short pays homage to the Eames classic by transposing its elegantly simple premise to today. This time, the picnic blanket is in Sicily, and the time horizon stretches to a scale of 100 billion light years away; the resulting film integrates updates in astronomy, astronomical imaging and human understanding into its journey far into the cosmos and back again.
Why making if-then connections might be the key to consciousness
Thinkers and theories
Bernard Williams on Descartes’s audacious endeavour to prove knowledge is possible
Ageing and death
When his elderly parents make a suicide pact, Doron struggles to accept their choice
To understand the limits of human senses, look to the wild world of animal cognition
Design and fashion
From sheep to sea – an ode to the iconic sweater that warms Cornish sailors
Yes, the Inuit have dozens of words for snow – but what does each one mean exactly?
History of science
How one of history’s most beautiful books was used to find fate in the cosmos
Symmetry rules life on Earth – but it comes with many fascinating exceptions
There’s no one way for an insect to fly, but they’re all amazing in close up and slo-mo