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TV Review: Nova: The Fabric of the Cosmos: – ” What is Space?” and “What is Time?”

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On November 2, a new series on will premiere on PBS, and in a brand new move, the network has made the first episode available a week in advance on its free apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Once the series begins airing, it will also be available for streaming at the PBS website.

I had the opportunity to view the first two of this four-part series, and I was impressed. “What is Space?” and “What is Time?” are likely to convince you that everything you think you know is either wrong or just the tiniest hint of what we are coming to understand.

“What is Space?” explains why we speak of the fabric of the cosmos: Space is not a solid substance, but resembles more a piece of cloth, which can bend and fold. There is no such thing as “empty space.” Even if you take away everything that space holds, that seemingly empty space still teems with activity at the quantum level, to the limits of our ability to measure.

Using animation, computer graphics, and liberal doses of humor, host Brian Greene explains such subjects as the holographic universe, black holes, and quantum mechanics in a way that entertains as it educates and fascinates.

“What is Time?” also uses animation, computer graphics, and humor to explore what time is, and what it isn’t. Is the past really past? What is “now?” And what about time travel? Is it possible?

If physics class had been like this in high school, I would have been a lot more interested. You will be amazed and motivated to want to know more.

Physicist Brian Greene makes an excellent host, charming and able to speak to an audience which is not made up entirely of physicists clearly and without seeming condescending or patronizing, just enthusiastic and eager to share his passion for the wonders of the universe.

In this series, Nova and PBS continue to do what they do best: make science understandable and enjoyable to anyone with a shred of curiosity about how our world works, and how the way the world works relates to our daily lives.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, and Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.