Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

10 APRIL, 2013

How the Universe Was Born: An Animated Explanation from CERN

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From cosmology to particle physics, or how the Big Bang made its way into the lab.

The question of why the world exists has not only puzzled some of history’s greatest minds but has also, at one point or another, occurred to just about every human being. And yet the more we learn, the more we understand how little we actually know: The Big Bang, for instance, turns out to have been silent, and the very notions of “something” and “nothing” require a scientific quest all their own.

But in this short animated primer from my friends at TED Ed and TEDxCERN, CERN scientist Tom Whyntie explains what we do know about how the universe was born:

Veer from the scientific into the philosophical with John Updike on the universe and why there is something rather than nothing.

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03 APRIL, 2013

The True Science of Parallel Universes, Animated

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Choose-your-own-adventure realities, black holes, and other cosmic escapism.

Some of the greatest minds in science and the humanities have wondered — and attempted to answer — why the universe exists. That is, our universe, the universe, in the singular. But while it might be alluring to imagine what it would be like to live in a universe of ten dimensions, reality is at once simpler and more complex. From the wonderful MinutePhysics — who have previously explored whether the universe has a purpose, why the color pink doesn’t exist, how science education is stuck in the 19th century, why the past is different from the future, and why it’s dark at night — comes a lesson in science and semantics that distills the various hypotheses of parallel universes:

We must remember that physics is science, not philosophy, and in our attempts to explain the universe that we observe, we have to make claims that can in principle be tested — and then test them.

There is, however, plenty of room for philosophy in science — look no further than Jim Holt’s fantastic, mind-bending, and oddly soothing Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story, one of the best philosophy books of 2012.

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26 MARCH, 2013

Happy Birthday, Richard Dawkins: An Atheist’s Animated Altercation with God

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Knocking on heaven’s door of lamentable ignorance.

Yesterday, we explored humanity’s age-old paradox of grappling with mortality. Today, as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins — tireless myth-buster, vocal atheist, and one level-headed dad — celebrates his seventy-second birthday, LA-based filmmaker Kevin R. Breen brings us Richard Dawkins Dies: a delightfully South-Park-esque confrontation between Dawkins and God as the two engage in a smack-down at the heart of the creationism vs. evolution quasi-debate.

The best excuse for [people who don't believe in evolution] is lamentable ignorance.

Complement with The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True, Dawkins’s science-driven antidote to creationist mythology, one of the best children’s books of 2011.

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