Until recently, electricity was seen as a magical power. It could slay the living, revive the dead, and even bend the laws of nature. It is now the lifeblood of the modern world, fueling our lives and underpinning every aspect of technological advancement. Without it, we would be lost. Professor Jim Al-Khalili tells the electrifying story of our quest to master nature's most mysterious force.
In this episode, host Jim Al-Khalili shows what electricity actually is: a force created by the movement of charged particles like electrons. We'll also show how life creates and uses it, and tell the story of mankind's epic quest to do the same. We'll see how science learned to harness the power of electricity to build the modern world.
In episode two we travel back to a world full of excitement at the discovery of electricity. Jim will see how scientists finally realized that the almost supernatural phenomena of 'electricity' and 'magnetism' were linked. We'll show that by wielding the awesome new power of electromagnetism, Victorian scientists created the modern world.
From radio waves bigger than a house, to gamma rays smaller than the nucleus of an atom, the electromagnetic spectrum is buzzing around us - but until recently we have only been aware of the tiny visual part of the spectrum. Jim shows in this episode that the discovery of the light spectrum drove some of the great names of modern physics - Curie, Faraday, Planck and Einstein.
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I love Jim Al-Khalili and have been making my way through everything he's done. This is a great series. I'll be honest that I wasn't sure it would hold up on a relatively limited subject for three full episodes, but it does. Some of the things I really like about Jim Al-Khalili is his focus on the History of Science and how he deep dives into the personalities and (yes) conflicts. Sometimes I wonder if conflict and competition is almost a necessary part of scientific progress. Another thing I really like is his extensive use of experiments. I find that really helps to understand what is (for me) challenging topics like this. In addition, he visits many of the places he talks about, which is nice. These episodes also use "outside experts" and I enjoy seeing the faces I've seen in other series by Jim Al-Khalili. It's kind of nice. I sometimes start to think I should be taking notes! I admit I am not a scientist and there's a lot I do not understand. If there's one thing I didn't care for is that he used dead frogs as part of some of his experiments. It's a personal thing, but I get disturbed by that and it was even more disturbing that he doesn't really say anything to help me feel even a little better about it. It made me sad and for a few minutes I had to close my eyes.
Reviewed in the United States on November 30, 2019
Format: Prime Video
I love watching documentaries with this host. The combination of his knowledge base & super effective educational style with the simple experiments & the show's special effects get to the finish line of tough but important scientific concepts. He's not patronizing or condescending to the audience. It leaves one feeling a bit more educated, empowered, and thoroughly entertained.
Even when Jim Al-Khalili is doing an educational program that is not about his scientific expertise, he still is fantastic at conveying scientific principals and giving the history of how they were discovered. Kudos to the writers of this series.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” - Take the time to not just watch but put in context what humanity has accomplished... Some more involved than others. Nicely done Professor, as usual!.
Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2020
Format: Prime Video
I wish all documentaries were this informative and interesting. The history as well as the scientific principles of electricity are covered well. Each is used to complement the other, providing an excellent vehicle for education.