RI Christmas Lectures 2010

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Epsiode 3 - Why Moutains Are So Small

What forces shape the big things in our world and can we overcome them to build big enough to reach space? In the final lecture, we zoom out to investigate the rules governing the size and behaviour of big things and discover that they are very different from the electrostatic forces governing atoms. To explain what’s going on at this macro scale, Mark asks some big questions like why aren’t mountains bigger and why are planets round?

So to build really big we need to escape the clutches of gravity but how do we do that? To find the answer, we explore the fundamental properties of matter that enable it to resist the force of gravity: strength, hardness and density. The lecture concludes by demonstrating that our mastery of these properties could indeed make it possible to achieve incredible things such as building space elevators.



Epsiode 1 - Why Elephants Can’t Dance What is the right size for an animal? This lecture investigates the effects of size on the animal kingdom. Mark’s experiments uncover the physical rules that govern the strength, life span and even movement of animals.

Episode 2 – Why Chocolate Melts and Jet Engines Don’t What physics dominates in the microscopic world and how can we manipulate the rules to achieve incredible things?

Epsiode 3 - Why Moutains Are So Small What forces shape the big things in our world and can we overcome them to build big enough to reach space?

Credits
3 x 60'