Science Night 11/16

Watch Nature: My Life As a Turkey on PBS. See more from CET.

Wednesday Science Night for November 16th presents:

Nature: My Life As A Turkey 7 pm
Based on a true story. Deep in the wilds of Florida, writer and naturalist Joe Hutto was given the rare opportunity to raise wild turkeys from chicks. Hutto spent each day out and about as a “wild turkey” with his family of chicks until the day came when he had to let his children grow up and go off on their own. As it turned out, this was harder than he ever imagined. Hutto’s story eventually became a book, Illuminations in the Flatlands.

NOVA: The Fabric of the Cosmos: “Quantum Leap” 8 pm
Accompany physicist and acclaimed author Brian Greene on a mind-bending reality check and journey to the frontiers of physics to see how scientists are piecing together the most complete picture yet of space, time and the universe. Join Brian Greene on a wild ride into the weird realm of quantum physics, which governs the universe on the tiniest of scales. Greene brings quantum mechanics to life in a nightclub like no other, where objects pop in and out of existence and things over here can affect others over there, instantaneously — without anything crossing the space between them. How could the rules of the quantum world, which work so well to describe the behavior of individual atoms and their components, appear so dramatically different from the everyday rules that govern people, planets and galaxies? Quantu m mechanics may be counterintuitive, but it’s one of the most successful theories in the history of science, making predictions that have been confirmed to better than one part in a billion, while also launching the technological advances at the heart of modern life, like computers and cell phones. But even today, even with such profound successes, the debate still rages over what quantum mechanics implies for the true nature of reality.

NOVA: The Elegant Universe: “The String’s The Thing” 9 pm
In the last few years, excitement has grown among scientists as they’ve pursued a revolutionary new approach to unifying nature’s forces. To the uninitiated, string theory is totally mind-boggling. But physicist Brian Greene has a rare gift for conveying physics in vivid everyday images, a gift that has turned his recent book, The Elegant Universe, into a mighty bestseller. Now Greene brings his talent, youth and vitality to television for the first time in this special three-hour presentation. A highly innovative, Matrix-like production style makes the surreal world of string theory spring to life on the screen. String’s the Thing — In the second hour, Greene describes the serendipitous steps that led from a forgotten 200-year-old mathematical formula to the first glimmerings of strings – quivering strands of energy whose different vibrations give rise to quarks, electrons, photons and all other elementary particles. Strings are truly tiny – smaller than an atom by the same factor that a tree is smaller than the entire universe. But, as Greene explains, it is possible – for the first time ever – to combine the laws of the large and the laws of the small into a proposal for a single, harmonious Theory of Everything.