Forces of Nature with Brian Cox

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The Universe in a Snowflake

Series 1 - Episode 1 The Universe in a Snowflake

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Review

You need to adjust your inner speedometer to watch Brian Cox's new series. In a way this is a BBC1 version of Slow TV - unhurried, enchanting, a bit dreamy. It's food for the soul as well as for the brain.

Cox wants to focus our attention on the deep, underlying laws of nature that shape everything around us. That means starting with the question of why planets are spherical. After all, they needn't be: asteroids come in irregular potato-ey shapes.

The underlying law here is gravity and to illustrate it - beautifully - there are scenes at a Catalan festival where the locals build towers out of people. We meet the young girl who must climb to the top - knowing that the towers frequently collapse…

That's the technique: science told through colourful global folklore. A Nepalese honey hunt, free-diving grannies in South Korea, kids playing in Norwegian snow. It makes complex, intricate science accessible - and it makes you think.

Summary

The physicist goes on a grand tour of the planet to explain how the Earth's beauty is created by just a handful of forces, beginning by examining the diversity of shapes in the natural world. Off the coast of Canada, Brian explains how massive icebergs that surge down from Greenland and into shipping lanes of the Atlantic emerge due to a powerful yet infinitesimal force of nature, while revealing how honeycombs made by bees in Nepal to store their precious honey conceal a mathematical rule.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Professor Brian Cox
Director Matthew Dyas
Executive Producer Andrew Cohen
Producer Matthew Dyas
Series Producer Danielle Peck
Nature