Science Night 11/9

Wednesday Science Night presents:

Nature: Jungle Eagles 7 pm
The most powerful raptor in the world, the harpy eagle, hides away deep in the South American jungle. Harpy eagles are barely ever seen, let alone filmed. In this extraordinary documentary, our team of cameramen steps into the world of this monkey-eating eagle and even risks injury to obtain intimate pictures of them bringing back large monkeys to the nest. The tables soon turn, however, as one of these massive birds starts following the team.

NOVA: The Fabric of the Cosmos: “The Illusion of Time?” 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. Time. We waste it, save it, kill it, make it. The world runs on it. Yet, ask physicists what time actually is, and the answer might shock you: They have no idea. Even more surprising, the deep sense we have of time passing from present to past may be nothing more than an illusion. How can our understanding of something so familiar be so wrong? In search of answers, Brian Greene takes us on the ultimate time traveling adventure, hurtling 50 years into the future before stepping into a wormhole to travel back to the past. Along the way, he will reveal a new way of thinking about time in which moments past, present and future exist all at once. This journey will bring us all the way back to the Big Bang, where physicists think the ultimate secrets of time may be hidden.

NOVA: The Elegant Universe: “Einstein’s Dream” 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. The first hour introduces string theory and shows how modern physics -composed of two theories that are ferociously incompatible – reached an impasse: one theory, known as general relativity, is successful in describing big things like stars and galaxies; another, called quantum mechanics, is equally successful in describing small things like atoms and subatomic particles. Albert Einstein, the inventor of general relativity, dreamed of finding a single theory that would embrace all of nature’s laws. But in his quest for the so- called unified theory, Einstein came up empty-handed, and the conflict between general relativity and quantum mechanics has stymied all who’ve followed. That is, until the discovery of string theory.