The Beauty of Diagrams

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Science Documentary hosted by Marcus du Sautoy, published by BBC in 2010 - English narration

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Image: The-Beauty-of-Diagrams-Cover.jpg

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Mathematician Marcus du Sautoy explores the stories behind some of the most familiar scientific diagrams.

[edit] Vitruvian Man

He looks at the Vitruvian Man, Leonardo da Vinci's diagram of the perfect human body, which has many layers from anatomy to architecture, and defines our species like no other drawing. Drawn in the 1480s in Milan, it synthesises Leonardo's passions for anatomy, for the mechanics of the human body and for geometry. It is also full of surprises, illustrating an ancient architectural riddle set out 1,500 years earlier.

[edit] Copernicus

When Nicolaus Copernicus developed his theory of a sun-centred universe 500 years ago, he was flying in the face of both science and religion. Mankind believed that the earth was at the centre of the cosmos, and to disagree was to risk derision and accusations of heresy. A young German scientist gave Copernicus the courage to publish his book and its extraordinary diagram of a heliocentric universe.

[edit] Newton's Prism

Isaac Newton bought a pair of prisms which were to be the basis of a series of experiments that would unlock a secret that had occupied scientists for centuries - the nature of light itself. To explain, he created a diagram known as The Crucial Experiment. It is a pivotal image in scientific history, a graphic moment when the ancient world was overturned by modern science, as Newton demonstrated that white light is not pure but made up different colours.

[edit] Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale is best known as the Crimean War's Lady of the Lamp, but she was also a superb statistician. Nightingale's post-war report revealed that out of 18,000 deaths, 16,000 had been due to infectious diseases in hospital rather than battle wounds. Her revolutionary and controversial rose diagram was designed to persuade the government that, if sanitation in hospitals was improved, many deaths could be avoided.

[edit] DNA

Marcus du Sautoy explores the story behind arguably the most famous and significant scientific diagram of the last 100 years - the double helix, which shows what the structure of our DNA looks like. Francis Crick and James Watson announced their discovery in Nature magazine in 1953, and their article included a diagram of the structure by Odile Crick. Her image has become so well known and loved that we now find it in a whole range of consumer products, from ties to dogs chews and a perfume.

[edit] Pioneer Plaque

Marcus du Sautoy explores the story behind the Pioneer Plaque, a diagram that was placed on board the unmanned space probe Pioneer 10 which took off from Cape Canaveral in 1972. In engraved graphic images and mathematical symbols, the plaque would reveal the Earth's location in the solar system and show extra-terrestrial intelligent life what human beings looked like. So was it, in the end, a great intellectual game or was it the most enterprising, artistic and scientific diagram of all time?

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[edit] Technical Specs

[edit] SD Version

  • Video Codec: Xvid
  • Video Bitrate: 1600 Kbps
  • Video Resolution: 720x400
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 1.800:1
  • Frame Rate: 25 FPS
  • Audio Codec: AC3
  • Audio Bitrate: 128 Kbps CBR 48KHz
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • Run-Time: 29mins
  • Number of Parts: 6
  • Part Size: 360 MB
  • Source: HDTV
  • Encoded by: JungleBoy

[edit] HD Version

  • Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@4.1
  • Video Bitrate: 4000 Kbps
  • Video Resolution: 1280x720
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Frame Rate: 25 FPS
  • Audio Codec: AC3
  • Audio Bitrate: 192 Kbps CBR 48KHz
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • Run-Time: 29mins
  • Number of Parts: 6
  • Part Size: 860 MB
  • Source: HDTV
  • Encoded by: JungleBoy

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